Current student loan debt relief commercials from private debt relief companies sound like a good solution but they are an invitation to lose financial benefits that come with federal student loans. The commercials lament the large amount students may owe and offer to lower payments and even help people in student loan default. Such offers lead borrowers to believe that they can get a better deal than the one they have with Uncle Sam. The fact is....borrowers can't get a better deal because they already have the best deal.
Federal student loans come under different names depending on the era when a student borrowed. Some are called Stafford Loans and others are called William T. Ford and there are a few others. What those federal loans have in common is some protections that the private companies offering to consolidate are not offering. Federal loans come with all sorts of contingency provisions like deferments and forbearance if a student has a hardship like unemployment or low income. There are also protections for borrowers who become disabled (loan forgiveness) and those who might have been victims of educational institutions who did not follow required guidelines. Once a borrower consolidates with a private lender or debt relief company, they lose all that AND take on new debt for the assistance.
The US Department of Education will work with borrowers whose payments are unmanageable or who are in default. Borrowers don't need a third party (who is there primarily to get more money) to help get a student loan out of default. Borrowers in trouble need only contact the US Department of Education or the financial aid office at the college they attended for good advice and assistance in avoiding loan defaults or rehabilitating a defaulted student loan.