Student loan debt consulting is becoming a cottage industry, Mary Pilon reports in The Journal today, and with personal debts soaring, the sector is poised for growth.As we’ve previously reported, student loan debt is projected to become a $1 trillion burden on graduates this year, surpassing credit card debt.
And since federally-guaranteed loans have secured Congressional protections that extend way beyond those of general consumer debt, that burden won’t be disappearing any time soon—especially with students securing twice as many loans today as they did 10 years ago.
A dead-on-arrival jobs market, pitiful wages, and minimal benefits, including little-to-no health care, have all compounded woes of the “lost graduates of the recession.”
So where can they turn when they face hundreds of thousands in loans? An independent debt consultant like Paul Garrad, whose company, PGPresents LLC, is helping 1,000 doctors manage the student loan process sans regulation in West Virginia. He charges $50 to $600 annually for his services.
Garrad, says Pilon, helps busy doctors stave off default by organising repayment programs and paperwork, making calls to lenders, and following-up.
But not everyone is thrilled with the idea, particularly consumer advocates who say these “consultants” charge for services that many post-graduates would be better off doing themselves.
What do you think: Would you pay hundreds of dollars for a student loan debt consultant?