Student Loan FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions, we have answers!

Review the SOLUTIONS for our FAQs. If you still have questions, become a member TODAY and then contact us.

Do you charge extra to help me with my loans? Can’t I get free help?

Champion charges a minimal membership fee to assist with advising you on your options. Our membership includes many benefits including financial literacy and life skills courses that help students and graduates. The student loan solutions call provides customized solutions based on your debt obligations and long-term financial goals.

We can be your advocate with your loan servicer and complete the appropriate forms. You can also contact your servicer directly; however, in some situations, it is best to have an expert advocate on your side. Federal servicers spend as little time as possible on a call, they often make recommendations that do not align with your long-term financial goals, and they offer little to no help if your application for lower or delayed payments is rejected or improperly applied.

Can you help me with my private loans?

Federal loans have the most options if a student is struggling to make their payments however, depending on the servicer, there may be options for the private loans.

As a member, you have the benefit of having expert help and we can do a conference call with you and your servicer to help make sure the right questions are asked. If you do not have the option to lower your payments with a private loan you may be able to get a lower interest rate or extend your payment terms via consolidation to help lower your monthly payment.

If you also have federal loans it might be a good idea to explore consolidating all of your eligible education loans or options to lower or defer payments so you can put any extra money towards paying off your private loans first.

You can also use our budgeting tools to look at your overall expenses to figure out what an achievable repayment plan is for you.

I can’t make my loan payment right now, what should I do?

Contact your federal servicer to explain your situation. Chances are you have options that may allow you to make a lower payment, or no payment at all depending on the details of your loan and finances.

If you are a Champion Empowerment Member, give us a call and we can assist you in choosing the best option and help you complete the forms.

Am I in default? What does that mean?

If you fail to make your scheduled student loan payments, your loan will eventually go into default. After you become 360 days delinquent (behind on your payments), your you will be in default. The federal government can exercise a variety of options that may include wage garnishment, withholding of tax refunds, liens and other legal remedies.

Being in default can severely harm your credit and your ability to qualify for other loans, housing, and even employment.(See the next question for help.)

Yes, my loan has defaulted… is there anything I can do?

It is really simple and straightforward to get things back in order, repair your credit, and even qualify for student loans again through a process called Rehabilitation.

You can rehabilitate your loan by making 9 consecutive monthly on-time payments within 10 months (often as little as $5 a month) or by paying the loan in full after speaking with your servicer to begin the process. It might be a bit scary, uncomfortable or even embarrassing to talk about loans you’re behind on, but by taking this step you can easily and affordably get things back on track.

What is a deferment? Is a deferment right for me?

Generally, deferments will postpone payments for 6 months. You are entitled to defer your student loan payments if you:

  1. meet certain eligibility criteria, and
  2. if you request a deferment by completing the appropriate forms.

A wide range of difficult financial situations can be covered by deferment.

If you have a subsidized loan, your interest can be covered or waived during an approved deferment.

To apply or get further information about deferments, contact your servicer, or if you are a Champion Empowerment Member give us a call and we can assist you in choosing your best option and even help you complete the forms.

You can also download the applicable deferment forms from our Default Is Lame website here.

What is forbearance? Is forbearance right for me?

Forbearance is a period of time during which a borrower can temporarily postpone making payments or make reduced payments. Forbearance is usually granted at the discretion of servicer.

You are still responsible for the interest that accrues; and, if unpaid, the interest may be capitalized.

Forbearance is often used to bring delinquent loans current in situations where there is a legitimate financial hardship, and you do not qualify for a deferment.

To find out if this is a good option for you, or to get further information about forbearances, contact your servicer, or if you are a Champion Empowerment Member give us a call and we can assist you in choosing the best option and help you complete the forms.

You can also download the applicable forbearance forms from our Default Is Lame website here.

What does interest capitalization mean?

Interest capitalization is when a servicer adds the unpaid accrued interest on a loan to your outstanding principal balance. This effectively increases the total amount owed (or the loan balance). Interest is then accrued on your new, higher total principal balance.

My loan status says "Claim Pending"; what does that mean?

A status of Claim Pending means your loan has gone past the maximum number of days past due and is being process as a default. If you have a FFELP Loan and your guarantor has not yet paid the claim, and it might be possible for you to avoid the consequences of default. But time is short, and you need to act immediately. You have a limited number of days to act before the guarantor will pay the claim and finalize the default of your loan, so again, please act fast to avoid defaulting.

I sent my form or payment, but my servicer never received it. Who should I contact?

If your servicer did not receive your deferment or forbearance form, contact your servicer as soon as possible. Be sure to have your completed form nearby for reference. If you don’t have a copy of your completed form, you will need to request, complete and submit a new one and submit it to your servicer.

If your servicer did not receive a payment, contact your servicer as soon as possible. Tell the representative when you mailed it, the amount of payment, and the check or money order number. If the payment was a check, ask your bank if and when it cleared, and provide this information to the servicer along with a copy of the front and back of the check if possible.

Be sure to write legibly on all forms and keep copies. Your servicer can file a claim if the deferment, forbearance, or payment is not received and your loan becomes at least 360 days delinquent.

Why was I billed for my student loan payment when I’m currently in school?

If you are currently in school at-least-half-time and are being billed for your student loan, its likely you transferred schools, dropped below half-time status or are attending school beyond your expected graduation date.

You should contact your servicer and be ready to provide proof of your current in-school status. Failing to do so means your servicer will expect you to begin making payments as soon as your grace period ends, which is typically 6 months following your last date of attending school (at a minimum of half-time status).

If you have already used your 6-month grace period, your loan can still be deferred; however, it will be due for payment within 45 days of your last date of attendance or the date you drop below half-time attendance.

Do I have to pay my student loan back if I decide to stay in school forever?

If you are attending a minimum of half-time status at an accredited institute, you are eligible for an in-school deferment.  The in-school deferment will postpone your payments until you drop below half-time status.

While it’s incredibly convenient to not have a student loan payment to worry about while you are in school, you need to be aware of the interest that may still be accruing on any unsubsidized loans (and that you will be required to pay) during your in-school deferment. This interest accrues and increases your total loan debt, coupled with the fact that you will eventually max out the loans you are eligible to receive, makes it unrealistic to plan on staying in school indefinitely to avoid paying your student loans.

I don’t know who my servicer/guarantor is, or how to contact them; can you help me find out?

You can also get a complete listing of your loans from the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). We have a full listing of servicer phone numbers on our Default Is Lame website.

Am I eligible for loan forgiveness? What are the qualifications?

Depending on your circumstances, there are programs you might qualify for which could allow for some or all of your student loan to be forgiven, discharged or cancelled. Reasons for eligibility may include death or a disability, closure of the school you attended.  Teachers and certain public service jobs may also qualify.

The U.S. Department of Education provides information on the different types of loan forgiveness, discharge and cancellation and it include details about eligibility for each program.  Review to determine if you qualify here

If I go into bankruptcy, what happens to my loans? Do they go away?

Student loans are not typically resolved through bankruptcy, meaning usually you still are responsible for paying your student loans even if you have successfully filed for bankruptcy in the past or expect to do so in the future. In order for your student loans to be cancelled or discharged in a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, you would need to prove in court that making a regular loan payment would cause undue financial hardship.

It’s highly recommended that you discuss the specifics of your student loan debt with your legal counsel or bankruptcy attorney; they will be able to help you fully understand if and how your student loans will be impacted by bankruptcy.

I have other questions about my student loans.

Didn’t find the answer you were looking for? Our membership offers many additional resources to help you including calls with us to discuss your unique situation.