Advertiser Disclosure

Borrower Beware: Student Loan Assistance Center

You never have to pay for student loan help when plenty of free options exist.
Loans, Student Loans

Student Loan Assistance Center is one of more than 130 so-called “debt relief” businesses that we’ve placed on the NerdWallet Student Loan Watch List for illegal or questionable dealings.

You never have to pay this company or any other for student loan help. You can get legitimate student loan help for free through the Department of Education or your student loan servicer.

Why we flagged this business

Student Loan Assistance Center, or SLAC Inc., had to refund almost $250,000 to more than 400 Washington consumers after the state’s attorney general sued the California company in 2016, alleging it violated consumer protection laws. SLAC did not admit to the alleged offenses, according to the court-ordered consent decree. The company was also included in a 2017 crackdown on student debt relief fraud by the Federal Trade Commission and 12 state attorneys general — a joint enforcement effort called “Operation Game of Loans.”

What about other ‘debt relief’ companies?

The Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have been cracking down on “debt relief” companies that rip off student-loan holders, but the agencies struggle to bring action against every business. Such companies often charge borrowers to fill out free government applications, or pocket money paid to service loans. These scams can push borrowers into default on their student debt and leave their credit ruined.

NerdWallet started its Student Loan Watch List in 2017 to flag the student-loan businesses hit by enforcement actions, court judgments or liens, or bad ratings from the Better Business Bureau.

Sources: Washington state attorney general; California secretary of state; King County Superior Court; New Jersey Superior Court; Federal Trade Commission