Attorney general Lori Swanson is suing a Florida-based student loan help business, alleging the business is falsely promising people they can get their student loans forgiven and charges them hundreds of dollars to do it.
The company is called the Student Aid Center, that promotes itself heavily online. Its webpage says students can get their loans forgiven, but Swanson calls it a bait and switch scheme.
“The company entices people with internet ads and other ads saying it could get their student loans forgiven and then it charged borrowers up to $1,500 to enroll them in repayment plans for loan consolidations that people could do for free through the federal government through federally available programs,” Swanson said Wednesday.
Shalyn Slack, a school teacher who paid the Student Aid Center $1,000 to help forgive her loans, said her advice is to go through your loan service provider if you need help and stay away from these companies you’ll find online.
“How I knew I was in trouble is that they were asking for my passwords, they wanted to know pin numbers for my student loan information stuff,” Slack said. “Also I knew I was in trouble because my loan provider gave me a statement showing I had three student loans instead of the two, so it had gone up $45,000 more.”
Minnesota has the fifth highest student loan debt in the country, according to the attorney general’s office. It says this business , the student loan center, has about 800 Minnesotans that have gone to them for help.
As part of her lawsuit, Swanson is asking a judge to order them to stop doing business in Minnesota and pay restitution.