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Scholarship Owl is a legit site and has a free and paid version. Never heard of the other company. Check out our Scholarship Owl review here.
There are a few companies that offer student loans without a cosigner, but you're trying to close a big gap - and the total spend has me worried.

You're going to borrow $21,000 per year (so $84,000 total) to go to college? That's not going to be good for you after you graduate. There's not many jobs that will provide an entry-level salary that will allow you to pay back these loans.

The rule of thumb for borrowing student loans is to never borrow more than you expect to make in your first year after graduation.

So, what can you do? You need to re-assess your path and funding options. Maybe you defer a year, go to community college and knock out a bunch of basic courses for cheap, and also save money/apply for scholarships. Then go back for years 2-4. That will reduce your expenses a ton and get you ahead.

Here's a list of lenders that don't need a cosigner, but the loans are even more expensive and the amounts they lend are low. Student Loans Without A Cosigner.
General Discussion / Re: Parent PLUS Loan Repayment
July 13, 2021, 07:42:03 am
Honestly, as you said, it's their debt, not yours. And if they consolidated it and mixed it all up with your husbands siblings, how are you planning to sort that out.

There's no real financial advice here to help, but maybe some personal advice.

I'd simply take care of your own debt first. Then, I'd sit them down (only if you want to), and say we'd help with husband's share of the debt, you need to come clean about your finances. No more hiding. If you want the help, that's the offer. If you don't want the help, that's the end of it.

You might remind them that everything is going to come to light at some point - whether now by choice, or when they're older (due to inability to manage their own money), or when they're dead. It's so much easier to work on things now when they're alive, but too many parents make it hard on their kids. You need to gently explain to them that you're not judging, and it's better to work on it now than later. They don't have anything you won't eventually know, so why hide it?
Your employer would need to create a Section 127 benefit plan for all eligible employees, and then the loan repayment assistance would be tax-free (at least federally - some states still may tax it).

There are also tuition reimbursement programs, but that doesn't sound like what this is either.

My guess would be this odd setup is taxable, but you should speak to an accountant.

See these resources:
- $5,250 In Employer Student Loan Repayment Tax-Free
- State Taxes and Loan Forgiveness
Student Loan Forgiveness / Re: Student loan default
February 28, 2021, 09:48:31 pm
It usually posts on your credit report within a week or so. Yes, it will likely raise your score, but remember, you still have late payments and other factors holding you back. It will take time to dramatically raise it.

When you pay off that loan, it will boost it even more.
Ask a Question / Re: Slump in Applying for Financial Aid
February 22, 2021, 07:43:18 am
Why can't you just mail it via that USPS?

I'm sure it would only take the standard amount of time for a letter -  usually less than a week.
Only Direct Loans qualify, as well as certain FFEL and Perkins loans that were bought back by the Department of Education during the 2007-2009 financial crisis (this is a very, very small amount of loans).

As such, the 8 million or so borrowers that have FFEL and Perkins loans are left out of all CARES ACt programs.

Sounds like you have an FFEL loan? Basically, 99% of all loans prior to 2009 were FFEL.
Navigating Repayment / Re: PSLF program
February 06, 2021, 08:54:50 am
No. You must be employed (W2) by the state/government agency directly.
Student Loan Forgiveness / Re: PSLF and state taxes
January 28, 2021, 07:40:12 am
It appears that Pennslyvania does NOT conform with Federal law and does consider PSLF (and other student loan forgiveness) taxable income. I would check with an accountant in your state to confirm.
Ask a Question / Re: At a loss of what to do
January 24, 2021, 10:18:41 am
If these are federal student loans (which it sounds like), there is no statute of limitations and they are always collectible. So you need to track them down.

Check out this article and see how to find who owns your student loans.
General Discussion / Re: Scammed
January 20, 2021, 05:40:52 pm
Read our guide on Student Loan Scams.
Navigating Repayment / Re: FFEL Loan Help
January 10, 2021, 09:45:11 am

It's tough to say because, depending on your repayment plan currently and when you started it, you could be close to loan forgiveness as it stands (IBR allows for loan forgiveness after 25 years). If you change your loans, you reset your clock...

With that said, here are the answers to your questions:

QuoteAt this point would it be worth consolidating into a direct federal loan?

Maybe, see above.

QuoteWould I be able to get a lower rate?

You would get the current rate on loans, which is better than what you're paying. But the interest rate doesn't really matter in your situation as you're focused on loan forgiveness. The real goal is to pay as little as possible then get loan forgiveness.

QuoteWould these enable me to qualify for a portion to be canceled as currently being proposed in congress or freezing interest accumulation under Cares Act?

We don't know, but I would guess it would only apply to Direct loans, not to FFEL Loans.
For Parents / Re: Help!!
December 19, 2020, 09:38:38 am
There are a lot of scholarship opportunities, but the hardest part is finding them. It requires time and effort. Usually, local organizations and employers are the best bet. Check out this guide: How to find college scholarships.

If she does decide to borrow to pay for college, Federal loans are only in her name - nothing is required of you. It's typically not a good idea to borrow private loans. See this guide: How To Find The Best Student Loans.
Student Loan Scams / Re: Is students come first a scam?
November 13, 2020, 04:51:36 pm
You might find our guide helpful so you can determine your situation: Top Student Loan Scams.
Who did you borrow from? Most loans are qualified education loans IF they are only used to fund education. Examples of non-qualified education loans are credit cards, personal loans with other uses, etc.

Technically, any private loan that was only used to fund education is considered a qualified education loan.

Finally, even qualified education loans can be discharged in bankruptcy. It's just rare because you have to pass the Brunner Test for undue hardship. See this: Bankruptcy and Student Loan Debt.