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Student loans are complicated, and there are many options for repayment. There are also a lot of scams out there. Unlike debt relief agencies, student loan lawyers comprehensively understand the laws governing these loans.
They can help borrowers by setting up income-driven payment plans and reducing monthly payments. They can also defend borrowers against lawsuits from debt collectors and assist with discharging student debt in bankruptcy.
Federal Student Loans
While all student loans must be paid back with interest, federal loans offer more flexibility for borrowers. They don’t require a good credit score and have options for flexible repayment, including income-driven repayment plans that cap payments based on income, graduated repayment programs that increase payments every few years and forbearances (time to stop paying during financial hardship).
Loan forgiveness options are also available for federal borrowers. These include several income-driven repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which discharges your debt after you make 120 on-time payments working for a government agency or nonprofit organization.
A lawyer from law offices in Rockville Maryland can help borrowers navigate these and other issues associated with their federal student loans. These attorneys can help borrowers qualify for loan forgiveness and other repayment options, negotiate settlements and defend borrowers from collections lawsuits. Find a lawyer specializing in student loans by checking the National Association of Consumer Advocates for a list or searching online.
Private Student Loans
Whether you have private student loans that you need to consolidate or are experiencing student loan default, an experienced lawyer can safeguard your rights and help you navigate through the legal process. Student loan lawyers can assist with loan consolidation, income-driven repayment plans and debt relief options. They also advocate for borrowers with private student loan issues, including harassment and collection actions by debt collectors and lenders.
Private student loans are available to students attending eligible schools and for purposes related to their education, such as living expenses. These loans are often credit-based, with a cosigner required by some lenders. They also rarely offer affordable repayment plans or loan forgiveness programs.
The state where a borrower lives or the type of school they attend may determine their eligibility for a private loan program. Lenders typically check a borrower’s credit history before offering them a loan and require that borrowers be enrolled at least half-time in school to begin making payments.
When borrowers default on their federal student loans, the government can garnish wages and seize tax refunds to recover the debt. A lawyer can help borrowers find a repayment plan and protect against collection tactics.
Attorneys can also seek loan forgiveness programs. The Northwest Justice Project has a program for attorneys working in the nonprofit sector who earn less than $51,000 annually. Student loan law firms focus on helping clients with problems related to their student debt, such as disputing loans from a fraudulent school or settling debts that have been sent to collections. Some also inform borrowers of their legal rights and choices, which can be useful when a lender or debt collector engages in unfair or abusive practices.
For those with significant debt from student loans and other types of credit, bankruptcy can be an option. A lawyer can help borrowers decide whether bankruptcy is right for them and guide them through the process.
A lawyer can also advocate for borrowers, negotiate with creditors and defend them against collection efforts. They can also assist with determining eligibility for loan forgiveness and other relief programs.
In addition, a lawyer can help borrowers file lawsuits against student loan servicers that engage in unlawful or predatory practices. They can also help borrowers navigate complex bankruptcy laws and procedures.