New Program Offers Student Loan Help

Want student loan help? It’s understandable, because the interest rates and high price of college loans are creating an unprecedented burden for graduates. Thankfully, Clearpoint is offering student loan help in the form of counseling. A nonprofit student loan counselor can review your entire financial situation. He or she can help identify which student loan programs you may qualify for and will make other suggestions for how to make the most of your budget. Financial expert, Thomas Nitzsche, explains this program in the video below.

Video Transcription

Kay: Paying for college has been in the news so much lately, and Congress,
of course, is still trying to hash out a deal to lower interest rates on
student loans. But listen to this, parents are no longer the primary source
of financing college for their kids. Loan giant, Sally Mae, released new
stats today that show grants and scholarships have actually taken over the

For the average student, they make up about 30 percent of college costs
now, and not so far behind parent’s income and savings covers about 27
percent of the bill, student loans financed about 18 percent of college
expenses. But experts say that the price tag still really dictates
decisions on schools, majors, and work schedules, not very surprising

This is such an important discussion because federal student loan debt is
now more than all of the credit card debt combined. It’s over a trillion
dollars, and if you’re struggling to pay off that student loan debt, we
have some help for you at First at Four. Thomas Nitzsche is here from Clear
Point Credit Counseling Solutions. One point two trillion dollars in
student loan debt, how did we get here?

Thomas: Well, it surpassed credit card debt a couple of years ago actually,
and I think it really comes back to a situation similar to the housing
market where we’ve placed such emphasis on what we do for a living and that
title, and even those of us who down the road don’t end up using that
degree, just having that box checked on that application. That’s a landmark
in life, and you want to have it from a good school. It’s become so over-
valued that I think at some point it’s going to pop.

Kay: And I hear parents also say it’s the connections their kids make at
college that are so important which is why they break the bank to send them
to maybe something that is a financial reach. So what if someone is paying
off student loan debt, they’ve already called the loan servicer, there’s no
help there, what can they do next?

Thomas: Well, the experience that I’ve, at least, had with calling loan
services is that the experience can be rather cold, uninformative. You can
have a lot of misunderstanding, or they may not screen you for what you’re
asking for. They might not even understand what you’re asking for. So what
we suggest is that consumers reach out to a nonprofit counseling agency,
such as one with the Student Loan Alliance as we’ve launched the student
loan counseling which is free of charge to consumers.

They can call or go online and do the intake process and get equipped with
the information they need to get into a solid repayment and pay down that
debt and control damage on their credit report because we see that about 27
percent of all student loans are now in default.

Kay: Wow. And this is a debt that you can never get rid of. You can’t
declare bankruptcy on a student loan, right?

Thomas: You can, and we’re seeing an increase in the number of senior
citizens who are actually in student loan repayment, either their own or
dependents. We see older adults going back to school, and the thing about
federal student loans is that with most debt your Social Security check
can’t be garnished. Not true with student loans. There are about 15,000
senior citizens right now, as of August of last year, who are having their
Social Security garnished because of a student loan in default.

Kay: Okay, so you mentioned the Student Loan Alliance. What is that?

Thomas: The Student Loan Alliance is eight of the largest national
nonprofit credit counseling agencies that have come together to promote
advocacy, education, and counseling for consumers struggling with students
loans because this is becoming an issue. I feel like it’s going to become
the next bubble. So basically to help students make the right choices both
before and after they have accrued all these students loans, making sure
they know how to communicate with their lender and ask for the type of
repayment that is appropriate for them to make them financially successful.

Kay: Okay, this is great information, Thomas. We’re going to have a lot of
it on our website of, a link to the Student Loan Alliance. I guess
the bottom line is if you’re struggling out there you don’t have to do it
alone, and you don’t have to feel like it’s you against the loan company,

Thomas: Right. It’s just like with mortgages and with credit card debt. The
hardest step is admitting that there’s a problem and reaching out to a
third party to get help. We were just talking with one of the producers
that she had a neighbor that just didn’t reach out for help until she was
already out of her house, things got so bad. She just didn’t open up to
anyone around her. So that’s the most important thing. I’m going to
encourage people to talk to somebody. It’s confidential, it’s free, and it
can only help.

Kay: Okay. Thomas Nitzsche from Clear Point Credit Counseling Solutions.
Thanks so much.