Sense & Centsibility Blog
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Free student loan counseling will expand with new grant

LSS Financial Counseling recently received a new grant to expand our student loan debt counseling service. With these new funds, we can support more Minnesotans who are facing challenges with their student loan repayment.

The grant is timely and necessary. “Minnesota ranks ninth in the country for the average debt load, with $32,317 per graduate,” said Becky Pakarinen, LSS Financial Counseling’s senior director. “Sixty-eight percent of Minnesota graduates carry debt – the third highest percentage in the nation.”

How Student Loan Counseling Works

If you are struggling with student loan debt or have questions about your student loans, we provide free, one-on-one, confidential support. Your financial counselor will work with  you to understand your student loan options and create an individualized action plan with tangible steps to take to improve your  financial situation.

You can:

  • Explore state/federal loan programs and repayment options.

  • Find ways to bring loans into good standing.

  • Create a realistic budget to cover monthly expenses.

  • Get assistance contacting servicers and lenders.

  • Learn how to avoid default and the problems it creates.

Julie Successfully Tackles Her Debt

Our counselors have years of experience working with individuals facing federal and private student loan debt. Julie Killian faithfully made student loan payments for several years, including payments on a loan she had co-signed with her then-husband. She received a notice from the bank one day stating that a loan was forgiven. This notice led her to believe that she could stop making all loan payments. That notice, however, was misleading. Julie found out months later that she still had to pay on several other loans and now she was several months behind on her payments.

“The whole situation was incredibly stressful,” Julie said. “I didn’t understand what happened, and it was affecting both mine and my ex-husband’s ability to restart our lives.” She explained her situation to Katie Eastman, one of our certified financial counselors, who worked with her to chart a path forward. After working with Katie, Julie said, “I finally felt like I could breathe again. I am so thankful for [Katie], who helped me ask the right questions and get back on track.”  Read Julie’s full story.

Set Up an Appointment

If you are struggling with student loan debt and want to find solutions, LSS Financial Counseling is here to support you. Call 888.577.2277 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.) to set up your free appointment. Learn more on our student loan web page.

Note: to limit the spread of the coronavirus, we are currently offering phone appointments only. We will reintroduce in-person appointments at a later date. 

Mike Gude is a Communications Specialist for LSS Financial Counseling.