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CNBC on Avoiding Student Loan Scams

On CNBC’s On the Money today, host Carmen Wong Ulrich talks about New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s recent settlement with Goal Financial over Goal’s deceptive advertising practices.  She gives a few tips on avoiding student loan scams:

1. Exhaust all public loan options. Public loans are preferred because they have fixed interest rates and flexible payment options. FinAid.org offers examples of different types of public loans offered.

2. If you do apply for a private loan, stick with big banks. You will rest easier knowing your loan is coming from an established institution with a good reputation. Bankrate allows you to compare your different options and pick loans with the lowest rates and best payment plans.

3. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Like with anything, always read the fine print (and if a free iPod is involved, be extra studious). It’s also best to approach your financial aid office for recommendations before heading out on your own.

Not all private loans are inherently bad and misleading, Carmen stressed. But now more than ever, it pays to be vigilant.

Good tips all, but I still have a major problem with the fact that 18 year old kids are expected to be fine-print-reading financial whizzes, and if they do wind up taking out particularly onerous loans because of deceptive practices, they still can’t get out of them. 


  1. Joe
    November 5, 2008 at 1:55 am

    There are so many “core” issues that define the student loan crisis, but your suggestion that 18 year olds are expected to be “fine-print-reading financial whizzes” is among the most concerning.

    You are 100% correct – how can these young kids (most of whom are concerned about graduating high school as they are applying for colleges) be expected to understand the complex, long-term effects of student loan debt? It’s frightening…

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