To help student loan borrowers avoid scams, NerdWallet is rounding up information on legitimate sources of help, like this one.
Legal representative: Adam S. Minsky, student loan law.
Mission statement: Attorney Minsky is dedicated to helping student loan borrowers and their families. Minsky is a licensed attorney in Massachusetts and New York.
Location: Boston, Massachusetts.
Business hours: Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
Areas of expertise: All student loan types.
He can help with: Help borrowers navigate loan repayment and forgiveness programs, address disputes, resolve defaults and defend against collections efforts. “Every situation is unique, and whether I can help a specific borrower depends on their unique circumstances, including where they live,” says Minsky.
He cannot help with: Borrowers who do not live in Massachusetts or New York. Minsky may be able to help borrowers in other states, but it would depend on the borrower’s location and situation, whether the loans at issue are federal or private and what the attorney ethical rules of that particular state allow.
Cost to expect: Fees depend on “the scope of representation and services, which can vary significantly,” says Minsky.
Most common question topics: Confusion or seeking guidance about repayment plan options; assistance with issues related to Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or PSLF, and Temporarily Expanded PSLF; assistance with defaulted loans; and defending against collections actions including lawsuits.
Most common relief/repayment solutions he recommends: Declined to answer.
Process for assessment/resolution: Borrowers will be asked questions about where they live, the type of student loan they have (private or federal), the status of their loans (in default or in good standing), whether they’ve been sued and the type of assistance they’re looking for.
What information/documents to bring to the table: Declined to answer.
Policy on acting on the borrower’s behalf: Minsky will never ask for a borrower’s Federal Student Aid ID, or FSA ID, or account usernames or passwords. In certain situations, it can be useful for a borrower to sign a privacy authorization or power of attorney to allow Minsky to communicate with their loan holder, servicer or debt collection firm handling their student loans.
If you need student loan help
If you’re struggling with your student loan debt, first speak with your servicer or lender to:
Discuss repayment options.
Take a temporary payment pause.
Temporarily reduce your monthly payments.
If your problem is with your lender or servicer or you’re not getting the help you need, look for a legitimate student loan help organization that offers counseling. In addition to Minsky, consider these other vetted resources for student loan help; they are established organization or legal representative with verified histories:
Many of these organizations offer advice for free. In some cases, you may need to pay a fee, as with a certified nonprofit credit counseling agency or if you hire an attorney.
None of the organizations above calls, texts or emails borrowers with offers of debt resolution.
Offers of help that you have not sought out are likely to be scams. While it’s not illegal for companies to charge for services such as consolidation or enrollment in a payment plan, those are steps you can do yourself for free.
Avoid any debt relief companies that demand money upfront.