Living with $200,000 of student loan debt is very stressful, especially when I do not make enough money to meet my monthly minimum payments and private loans have little to no repayment options besides, “pay this on time or we’ll send you to collections and destroy your credit score.” I’ve survived this long by putting my loans into forbearance and paying what I could afford. But now, I’m all out of forbearance options… This is why I reached out to The Student Loan Doctor.
I initially found out about The Student Loan Doctor while scrolling through my Instagram feed. This company is owned by Sonia Lewis who has had problems with her own debt in the past. The goal of her company is to educate people regarding student loan debt, provide assistance and action plans toward repayment, and provide personal finance coaching. I was thoroughly impressed when I read that this is the first African American and woman-owned student loan debt repayment company ever. This is what sold me.
The first time that I reached out to the Student Loan Doctor, LLC, it was for a ‘Free Discovery Call.’ The Student Loan Doctor website describes this service as so:
“Schedule your free discovery call to understand your student loan debt concerns. Your concerns will be heard by one of our expert coaches. A coach will determine if a consultation is necessary to resolve your concerns.
Services include: Assistance with selecting the best repayment plan, default rehabilitation, loan consolidation, navigating the first home buying process with regards to the FHA home loan or conventional home loan, monthly budgeting and planning for undergrad or graduate school.”
I was a little underwhelmed by this call. Although I was able to vent to one of the coaches by phone and my ‘concerns [were] heard,’ I didn’t get much more than that. After I was done complaining about how stressed my loans were making me, I was basically told to book a paid appointment which would cost $35. This call lasted five minutes.
Nonetheless, a month later I booked a paid appointment because let’s be honest, I still need help and I’d been reading such positive feedback regarding The Student Loan Doctor. My $35 Consultation was held at 6:30 pm on a Tuesday (I definitely like how their hours are so flexible). This consultation is described as the following on the website:
“This is after the discovery call or if you know you want to begin with a personal review of your student loan accounts, you may start here. This is a paid appointment.The consultation is a thorough review of your student loan account. The goal of the consultation is to provide a clear understanding of your loans and develop an action plan. You may execute on the action plan or I’ll offer to assist you. We will discuss how your loans are impacting your credit score and/or home buying eligibility. An invoice will be sent after booking if not already paid via credit card at the time of booking.”
This consultation was super helpful. My ‘Doctor’ went over my federal loans with FAFSA with me as well as my Credit Sesame profile to get even more knowledge about my credit and financial history. I got some insights on what I can do about the twelve or so different loans I have such as consolidating my federal loans for a consistent interest rate and continuing with my Income-Based Repayment Plan. This was something I had never considered before since my federal loans were the more manageable set of loans and the monthly cost of them did not concern me as much. But the way the Student Loan Doctor put it, it does make sense to have a lower monthly payment for my federal loans and put any extra money toward my monstrous private loans. She also suggested that I write a letter to the loan company asking that any extra payment I make be applied to the principal balance only (which is a great idea) but unfortunately, my company does not do this.
Another suggestion made was opening another line of credit. Although my credit score is good (for now), having another credit card, that I wouldn’t have to use, would increase the available credit I have and in turn, increase my credit score. But would I be tempted to use it?
Lastly, and this is the big one, it was suggested that I refinance my private loans. Now I have thought about this one before, but I have always been rejected by multiple companies for terrible debt to income ratio, low credit score, and/or delinquent accounts which were due to my identity being stolen and someone opening credit cards and renting apartments in my name. However, my Student Loan Doctor mentioned that they have a connection with a certain bank that I myself use and trust, and with my current credit score, they could probably work with me to finally refinance my private loans. YES!! On the path to financial freedom!
The 8-week process, however, would cost me $200. The Full Student loan package includes:
-“Student loan clean up” get back on track with an affordable payment
-Consolidation or IBR payment will be processed on your behalf
-Credit score improved within 90 days
-365 day follow up guarantee