With Americans collectively owing more than 1.3 trillion dollars in student debt and the average student graduating with $25,000 of debt, student debts are a central financial problem for many people. Yet, despite the fact that most graduates will have some kind of debt by the time they graduate, many of the tools and resources available to those with student debt remain relatively poorly known. Federal programs for loan forgiveness or loan consolidation remain underutilized, and many borrowers simply do not understand the full array of options available to them.
This lack of knowledge about resources can leave borrowers feeling like they are tethered to a hopeless amount of debt with few options other than trying to pay whatever their current minimum payment is. In addition, the National Consumer Law Center has shown that collection agencies, even those contracted by the federal government, often provide significant misinformation about repayment options to people whose student loans have gone into collections. This kind of misinformation can prevent borrowers from learning about repayment options that might be better suited to their needs. Even more distressing is the whole industry that has sprung up to take advantage of those seeking relief from student debts. These companies often charge large fees in order to provide access to free federal programs, preying on borrower’s fears and lack of knowledge to turn a profit.
At the SF LGBT Center we believe that addressing issues of debt is important as part of our larger commitment to the economic wellbeing of LGBT communities. Furthermore, many in our communities struggle with increased burdens from student debt due to factors such as a lack of parental financial support and employment discrimination after graduation. For all these reasons the SF LGBT Center’s Finical Services department is extremely excited to be putting on a workshop on dealing with student debts. The workshop will be put on in collaboration with our partners at Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA), and will aim to empower those in our community struggling with student debts to become better informed borrowers and avoid common pitfalls. The workshop aims to be useful both for those who simply want to find the best path towards loan repayment as well as those who are severely burdened with debt. For workshop participants who are struggling or unable to pay their loan payments there will be time to speak to presenters from HERA and set up further one on one counseling.
The workshop will take place at the SF LGBT Center on June 24, from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM. Please register for the workshop here: https://lgbtstudentdebt.eventbrite.com as space is limited.
For more information contact Sophie Lewis at email@example.com or 415-865-5655