Money Smart Week: Free Student Loan Advice

Tony Leahy is our guest blogger today. He is the Education Subgroup Chair of the Washington Attorney General’s Student Loan Workgroup, and Executive Director at CENTS (Consumer Education and Training Services Program) – a financial literacy organization. On April 22 he will be co-hosting a program on Student Loan Repayment and Options. For more information on student loan debt, check out this resource list.

It’s time we talk openly about student loans. Almost everyone knows an adult burdened by student loan debt.  An article in the August 2016 edition of Consumer Reports magazine reported 42 million people owe $1.3 trillion in student debt and nearly 1 in 5 borrowers is in default. In other words, student loan debt is a national epidemic. We are seeing this play out locally as well.

“Many of Washington’s current and former students struggle under a heavy burden of student debt,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. “There are many resources available to help these borrowers manager their loans.”

One such resource is the free community workshop on student loan repayment and options put on by members of the Education Subgroup of the Washington Attorney General’s Student Loan Workgroup.

The April 22 event will include a presentation, Q&A session, and offer one-on-one consultation with an attorney to help borrowers create a strategy to deal with overwhelming student loan debt. A limited number of one-on-one attorney consults will be assigned on a first come / first served basis. Those not able to talk with an attorney at the event may provide contact information at the workshop to set up appointments after the event.

The presentation will cover:

  • Types of loans, and how to find out what type you have
  • Defaulted loans and options to deal with default
  • Finding an affordable payment plan to stay out of default; how to change plans
  • Loan forgiveness options for Federal student loans based on
    • Public service work
    • Disability
    • Closed school or wrongdoing on the part of the school
  •  Dealing with collection activity, including:
    • Lawsuit
    • Wage garnishment
  • Rights and risks of co-signers on student loans
  • Specific issues related to Private student loans
  • What filing for bankruptcy can and can’t do for you
  • Scams and frauds that take advantage of student loan borrowers

Resources for self-help and further assistance

If you have a student loan question or want help on how to come up with an effective repayment plan, I encourage you and your friends to come to this event.

 DATE:            Saturday, April 22
TIME:              2 – 4:30 p.m.
LOCATION:  Seattle Public Library, Central Library Level 4, Room 1
1000 Fourth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104
COST:             This program is free-of-charge

You can also check out this resource list created by librarians at The Seattle Public Library for further information on student loan debt.

Money Smart Week®, April 22-29, 2017, is a public awareness campaign designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances. Organizations across the country, including many public libraries, are offering free programs to people of all ages and  income levels on all facets of personal finance. For more information about events, visit

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