Requests To Share Your Federal Student Aid Credentials
Beware of callers who ask for your FSA ID or password. Loan servicers won’t ask you for these credentials, and the ED can access your account without it.
Since FSA usernames and passwords are used to sign legal documents, scammers may use your information to:
- Sign into your account and make changes without your consent.
- Access your National Student Loan Data System file and credit report to commit identity theft.
- Change your contact information â or worse, block communications with your loan servicer.
What to do
- Create your own FSA ID and password as soon as you apply for a loan through Free Application for Federal Student Aid . Never share these details with anyone â even your parents. Dependent students and their parents must create separate FSA accounts.
- Periodically review your loans and grants report errors, and file disputes with the FSA Ombudsman’s Office.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness: The Deadline To Apply Is Today
Time is running short. The limited waiver expires tonight.
Alix is a staff writer for CNET Money where she focuses on real estate, housing and the mortgage industry. She previously reported on retirement and investing for Money.com and was a staff writer at Time magazine. She has written for various publications, such as Fortune, InStyle and Travel + Leisure, and she also worked in social media and digital production at NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt and NY1. She graduated from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY and Villanova University. When not checking Twitter, Alix likes to hike, play tennis and watch her neighbors’ dogs. Now based out of Los Angeles, Alix doesn’t miss the New York City subway one bit.
Courtney Johnston is an editor for CNET Money, where she manages the team’s editorial calendar, and focuses on taxes, student debt and loans. Passionate about financial literacy and inclusion, she has prior experience as a freelance journalist covering investing, policy and real estate. A New Jersey native, she currently resides in Indianapolis, but continues to pine for East Coast pizza and bagels.
The deadline is fast approaching for teachers, first responders, firefighters, government workers and other public servants to file applications for the limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness waiver.
The Caller Is On Ftcs List Of Banned Companies
There’s a list that the FTC updates regularly of operators and companies prohibited from running debt relief businesses. Callers who claim to be from one of these companies are scammers.
Many such illegitimate companies, like The Student Loan Group , also keep changing their company and brand names to dodge negative publicity.
Last November, the FTC obtained an order banning Automatic Funds Transfer Services, Inc. â a payment processor fronting SLG. AFTS processed at least $31 million in illegal upfront fees for SLG.
- To see whether a specific company or individual offering debt relief has been banned by the FTC, press Ctrl-F on your keyboard. Type in the company name, and see if it appears on the list. If a caller purports to be from American Student Loan Consolidators, you can quickly find them with a Ctrl-F search, as seen above.
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Dont Pay Feesforgiveness Is Free
One of the most prolific student loan scams is a company saying that you must pay to be eligible for student loan forgiveness. Scammers may even say they can get your entire student loan balance forgiven, even if itâs more than the amount that President Biden announced.
Itâs always free to apply for federal loan forgiveness programs, and paying a fee will not expedite the process or increase your chances of approval. If a company promises to fast-track your application in exchange for a fee, theyâre trying to scam you.
âUsually, they will approach you with something that sounds too good to be true,â said internet security and fraud expert Adam Levin, host of the podcast What the Hack with Adam Levin. âItâs anything to get you to act impulsively and provide money or provide personal identifiable information.â
Itâs also important to know that the federal government will not contact you via phone to discuss your student loans. âThe real Department of Education wonât be calling you, just like the IRS doesnât call you,â Levin said.
What If I Didn’t Receive Credit For Past Payments
In the past, if you had been making payments but your loan servicer had incomplete or inaccurate records, you had almost no recourse to counter their claims. Now, with the limited waiver and announcement of permanent fixes to the program, you can apply for forgiveness and have your previous payments counted toward your debt and forgiveness.
Correction, Jan. 25: This article previously stated that private loans would be eligible for student loan forgiveness under the new waiver. That was incorrect. In addition to Direct Loans, only FFEL loans — which are federally backed, but often issued by private lenders — Perkins Loans and other federal loans may qualify for the PSLF waiver.
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Promises Immediate Student Loan Relief
A scammer might assure you immediate student loan relief through loan forgiveness programs as long as you pay them a fee to qualify.
While federal student loan forgiveness programs are available, none provide immediate relief. You have to spend years working in a particular field and making payments before you might qualify. And with the recently announced plan by President Biden, youll need to meet the income requirements to be eligible for forgiveness. The limit is $125,000 for single people and $250,000 for couples.
Another example is Public Service Loan Forgiveness , which requires you to make 120 qualifying payments while working full-time at a not-for-profit organization or government agency before you can apply to have your loans forgiven.
Or if youre eligible for Teacher Loan Forgiveness, you can fill out the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application and submit it to your loan servicer.
Unfortunately, private student loan forgiveness doesnt exist. However, you do have other relief options, such as deferment or forbearance or student loan refinancing.
You can use our calculator below to see how much you could save by refinancing your student loans.
Step 1. Enter your loan balance
Step 2. Enter current loan information
Step 3. Enter your new loan information to start calculating your savings
Does refinancing make sense for you?Compare offers from top refinancing lenders to determine your actual savings.
How Can I Check If I Qualify For Student Loan Forgiveness
- Verify that you meet the income threshold by checking your 2020 and 2021 tax returns, as experts say that the administration will likely estimate your annual income from either, or both, of those forms.
- Check if you are a Pell Grant recipient and qualify for additional relief by logging into your Free Application for Federal Student Aid account with your FSA ID. The portal should have your student aid report , which details the different financial aid awards you have received, including any Pell Grants. This information is also included in the financial aid award letter you received from the school you attended.
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Student Loan Forgiveness Is Temporarily Blocked But Not For Pslf
Borrowers should know that the Limited PSLF Waiver is entirely distinct from Bidens one-time student loan forgiveness program that can provide $10,000 or up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness for borrowers with eligible loans who have earned within certain income guidelines.
Last week, a federal appeals court temporarily blocked implementation of Bidens one-time student loan forgiveness program in response to a lawsuit brought by Republican-led states. However, that administrative stay only applies to the one-time cancellation program. It does not apply to PSLF.
In addition, while FFELP loans are excluded from relief under the one-time cancellation initiative following a policy reversal by the Biden administration several weeks ago, FFELP loans can still potentially benefit from the Limited PSLF Waiver and ultimately qualify for student loan forgiveness if borrowers follow the required steps.
How Do You Apply For Student Debt Relief
Most of the estimated 40 million borrowers seeking student loan relief will need to apply for forgiveness using the Education Department’s online form. The department said if you submit an application, it will be processed, and you won’t need to resubmit.
Note that if the Department of Education already has your income information on file, the department may have enough information to automatically forgive your debt without applying. The group who will automatically qualify may number as many as 8 million borrowers and mostly includes those who are enrolled in income-driven repayment plans. The department recommends filling out the form anyway if you think you are in this group in case it doesn’t have enough information to automatically cancel the debt.
If the department doesn’t have your income details on file, you must complete the application to supply the information the department needs to determine if you qualify to have your debt canceled.
You don’t need to upload supporting documents or use your FSA ID to submit your application. The application is now available through desktop and mobile browsers in both English and Spanish versions.
Once your loan servicer approves and applies the debt forgiveness to your account, it will notify you and share any additional information necessary, such as your remaining balance.
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Does Student Loan Forgiveness Exist
With that said, there are some instances in which student loan forgiveness actually exists . If youre a Navient customer, you may still qualify for student loan forgiveness elsewhere, no matter how the lawsuits are settled.
Here are a few programs that may be able to help.
- Borrowers Defense to Repayment Discharge: This program can only help individuals with federal student loans. You also must prove the school you attended misled you in some way, performed an illegal activity, or otherwise committed fraud against you.
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program: You can get your student loans completely forgiven if you work within a qualifying public service job. If this is the route you want to go, you also must stay in the position for at least 10 years to have your loans forgiven. You will still need to make a number of payments before you can have your loans forgiven completely, but youll pay far less.
- Non-Profit Student Loan Forgiveness Program: This program offers complete student loan forgiveness for individuals who work full-time for nonprofit agencies. Like the forgiveness program above, youll need to stay in nonprofit work for at least 10 years to qualify.
- Government Employee Student Loan Discharge: Like the nonprofit and public service programs, youll need to be a government employee for at least 10 years to qualify. However, if you are, you can receive complete forgiveness.
Repayment Plans With Loan Forgiveness
Even if you dont work in public service, you can still get your student debt forgiven. But it will take a lot longer. Each of the income-driven repayment plans promises to forgive your remaining loan balance after youve made payments for 20 to 25 years.
Who qualifies: Borrowers enrolled in one of the federal student loan IDR plans Income-Based Repayment , Income-Contingent Repayment , Pay As You Earn , and Revised Pay As You Earn .
Which loans are eligible: All Direct Loans, FFEL Loans, and, if consolidated, Parent PLUS Loans and Federal Perkins Loans.
How to apply: Youre automatically enrolled when you submit your income-driven repayment application to your student loan servicer. Your servicer will track your payments and notify you once youve qualified for forgiveness.
How long until loans are forgiven: Most borrowers with student loan debt only from undergraduate studies will qualify for loan forgiveness after theyve made 240 monthly payments . However, if you have debt from graduate school or are paying under the income-contingent repayment plan, you need to make 300 monthly payments before youre eligible for loan forgiveness.
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Youre Our First Priorityevery Time
We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. And while our site doesnt feature every company or financial product available on the market, were proud that the guidance we offer, the information we provide and the tools we create are objective, independent, straightforward and free.
So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we review and write about , but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services.Here is a list of our partners.
The Benefits Of Paying For Student Loan Consultations
Theres no magic wand to get rid of student loans quickly. Instead, youll need to think carefully through your options to find the best repayment strategy.
You can go at it alone for free through the Federal Student Aid website, the reality is that figuring out which repayment option is best for you is complicated. If you find yourself feeling over your head with your options, it might make sense for you to invest in one of our one-on-one student loan consultations.
Thats why Student Loan Planner® offers a paid service for advice related to your student loan debt repayment. We wouldnt have a business if the federal government could solve every borrowers debt problems. The reality is if you have six-figure student loan debt, your situation is very different from someone who has $20,000 in student loans.
We dont have the answers to wipe away your debt in one fell swoop. Nor do we claim to provide immediate loan forgiveness. Were also not a document preparation company. We purposely dont fill out any paperwork for clients. The more involved and educated you are in your own repayment decisions, the more focused youll be at eliminating your student loan debt the right way.
You can now better identify student loan forgiveness scams!
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Scammers Ramp Up Student Loan Forgiveness Calls
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list ofour partnersandhere’s how we make money.
Student loan scammers have a brand-new hook: the recent move by the Department of Education to cancel student debt for millions.
Borrowers on social media are reporting a surge in calls, or voicemails like this one:
“Hey, it’s Liz from . I’m just giving you a call in regards to your school loans. I do have you prequalified here for the updated forgiveness program and possibly even loan discharge. It’s just imperative that we go over the details as soon as possible because it does look like your status will expire soon, but I’ll go ahead and I’ll keep you in pending status for now.”
The borrower is told cancellation of some certain amount is imminent but requires an immediate payment of $1,000 or more. Often the borrower is pressed for a Social Security number or Federal Student Aid ID.
Behind the pitch is the same old fraudster playbook, one that persuades federal student loan borrowers to pay for services they could get for free or to share personal account information in exchange for forgiveness.
The extended pause on federal student loan payments and news of debt cancellation up to $20,000 make such deceptions easier to believe.
Student Loan Debt Elimination Scam
Quick student debt elimination is a myth. So if you receive a phone call from a student loan debt relief company promising fast debt cancellation, youre likely dealing with a scam.
Scammers might make a claim that because you attended a certain college that closed you can get your debt completely wiped out at a cost. While there are times when this is possible, you should not pay a company to try to get your debt eliminated.
For instance, the federal government may permit student loan debt discharge for special circumstances, such as disability, death, and if your school closed.
According to the Federal Student Aid website, If youre no longer required to make payments on your loans due to other circumstances, such as a total and permanent disability or the closure of the school where you received your loans, this is generally called discharge.
For more details on student loan discharge and which loans are eligible, check out the Department of Educations student loan forgiveness, cancellation or discharge criteria.
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Forgiveness And Discharge Programs For Student Loans 2022
#1 Student Loan Lawyer
Broad federal student loan forgiveness by President Biden appears unlikely. Still, the Department of Education is improving existing programs to grant relief to more borrowers.
The U.S. Department of Education offers different programs to wipe away some or all of your federal student loan debt. If it eliminates your loan balance because of your job, the government will refer to that as forgiveness or cancellation. And if it clears your student loan debt because of disability, death, or your school closed, the Department will label that as a discharge.
Ahead, learn the federal student loan forgiveness and discharge options available to you. But first, lets talk about student loan forgiveness scams.
Dont Let Scammers Outwit You Aura Can Help
Delays in student loan payments or changes to loan services can confuse borrowers. Where there are flustered borrowers, scammers arenât far behind.
Stay safe by identifying fraudulent callers and avoiding these common scam tactics. Don’t panic if youâve been deceived into giving your FSA information to someone. Alert your loan servicer right away.
For everything else related to fraud protection, Aura can help keep you safe. Aura continuously monitors your bank, credit, and investment accounts for signs of fraud and identity theft. Youâll be alerted in near real-time about suspicious activity on any of your financial accounts.
Keep student loan scammers at bay. Try Aura free for 14 days
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