By Jim Donovan: Are you having problems paying your student loans? If so, you're not alone! Student loan debt in the U.S. has been soaring and the percentage of borrowers more than 90 days delinquent is at 11%.
Unlike many other forms of debt, student loans generally can't be discharged through bankruptcy and may take decades for borrowers to repay. Additionally, delinquent student loan repayment may have a devastating impact on a borrower's credit report.
To help address the needs of borrowers faced with repaying student loans, Clarifi, the region's leading non-profit consumer credit counseling agency is piloting a unique new service called the "Student Loan Borrower Repayment Counseling Program".
The program will run from March through December 2013 and is designed to provide guidance to student loan borrowers who are facing difficulty in repayment of their federal and private student loans. There will be no charge to borrowers who are counseled through this service.
"We are seeing an increase of younger clients with unprecedented student loan debt who need a reliable resource. Through this pilot, our counselors will help graduates and/or students explore payment options and potential solutions that may offer a more manageable monthly payment schedule to avoid delinquency," says Patty Hasson, President and Executive Director of Clarifi.
The pilot program provides an unbiased resource to help borrowers who are facing difficulty in repayment of their student loans in the following ways:
- Explore available repayment options and potential solutions. Many borrowers are simply unaware of available federal repayment options that may provide a more manageable monthly payment schedule than a borrower's current repayment plan.
- Determine an individual borrower's eligibility for these federal options.
- Provide assistance in establishing a budget to cover monthly expenses, including federal and private student loan repayment.
Attempt to contact private lenders to determine possible repayment solutions.
- Help student loan borrowers in repayment avoid defaulting and suffering the related consequences.
As part of this service, Clarifi is partnering with Community Legal Services of Philadelphia to mentor counselors and to provide consultation to student loan borrowers.
For more information about this free counseling opportunity or to make an appointment with a trained Student Loan Borrower Repayment Counselor, call 855-761-4975 or visit clarifi.org/studentloans. The pilot is available to a limited number of borrowers per month.
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