Student Loan Debt Forgiveness or NAH?!


This morning I saw a Facebook post about the Student Loan Debt Forgiveness law that has just passed with a phone number that says “Find out if you’re eligible contact 1-888-732-8191.” Being the curious mind that I am I decided to call. Besides, two Facebook friends I trust liked the post and I am swamped with student loan debt. I have two loans in rehab right now, so why not? I wanted to see if there was anything I else I could do. A fairly friendly woman answered the phone and began helping me right away. She said that she couldn’t see any of my loan information and that I needed to fill in an online form for her to see it. She emailed me the form, I filled in the info, and BOOM, she could electronically see my loans. 


  • I currently have $57,000 in loans.
  • I qualify for an income based repayment program where as long as I make under $35,000 a year I pay $0.
  • If I stay in this program for 300 months my loans can be forgiven. I was told that this was my loan term.
  • Each year I would verify my income and the amount I am required to pay would be based on my income.
  • This income repayment option is based on 15% of your income. So If I were to make $40,000 a year with a household of four, my monthly payments would be $52.
  • With this program there’s no added interest for three years. 


Brittany then tells me “oh, just to get started you pay $99 a month for four months.” Then things started sounding kinda fishy. I started asking if they were the official company handling this for the Dept. of Ed. She then explained that there are multiple companies but most charge a fee higher than theirs. She informed me that she was giving me the “economic hardship fee” because I am unemployed. The usual fee is $600. I began to ask questions about the difference between me doing this directly through the Dept. of Ed and doing this through her company. She got an attitude and became very passionate in explaining that the Dept. of Ed is not going to hold my hand through this process. That if I want to do all the research myself I would have to fill out mounds of paperwork that the average person can’t handle. She compared it to filling out your taxes without using TurboTax. I reminded her that there was a time when there was no TurboTax and it didn’t take people a year to fill out their taxes. 

She got loud and belligerent explaining that if I were to try to do this alone without them I take the risk of getting denied by the Dept. of Ed. and would have to contact them to help me anyway. I told her that I’ve consolidated my loans before without paying any fees. I asked what type of paperwork would be so monstrous that her company could fill it out but I couldn’t. She just kept ranting about how the Dept. of Ed. was not going to help me at all and that I needed a company like theirs to mediate. After she became irate my spidey sense said “something’s not right.” I told her I would call her back and wished her a better day.


I called the Dept. of Ed. directly. They were SUPER DUPER helpful and informative. Here’s what I learned:

  • In order to participate in the programs you will have to consolidate your student loans with the Department of Education.
  • You do not have to pay any fees to consolidate your loans.
  • You can consolidate by answering a few easy question at 
  • After consolidation you can choose your servicing agent and the repayment option you feel is best. 
  • In order to research the repayment option that fits you best visit and click repaying your loans.
  • Representatives from the Dept. of Ed are available, friendly, and ready to answer any questions you have as well as walk you through the process. 


To find the repayment method that is best for you visit the student aid website above. Here is the information the Dept. of Ed. gave me as related to the information I got from Brittany….

  • The term for the income based plan in general is 25 or 30 years. It is not based on any individual loan term.
  • After 25 or 30 years in the income based repayment program the loans are forgiven.
  • You may have to pay income tax on loans that are forgiven so you want to be careful of the amount owed at the time of forgiveness.
  • I would have to verify my total household income (not just my income) every year. When I get married my student loan payments will be based on income from my spouse and I. 
  • Some forgiveness options have shorter terms. For example, if you work in public service for 10 years and you have been paying your loans during that time (starting in 2007) you can have your loans forgiven.
  • If you have worked for Title I schools as a special needs teacher, math teacher, or english teacher you can have up to $17,000 forgiven after 5 years.


  • You don’t have to go through any debt solutions companies or servicing agents that charge you fees to participate in loan repayment or student loan debt forgiveness.
  • Student loan debt forgiveness seems like a catch 22 if you have to turn around and pay taxes on the money you’re “forgiven for.”
  • The process for student loan debt forgiveness is not a daunting process, but you should read the two websites mentioned above before beginning.
  • Student loan debt forgiveness could take any where from 5 to 30 years depending on your situation. 
  • There are multiple student loan repayment options. Read up on all of them and choose which is best for you.

I hope this information helps someone. Please spread the word. Let your family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances know that they DO NOT have to pay any fees to participate in the Dept. of Ed’s student loan debt forgiveness programs.   


16 thoughts on “Student Loan Debt Forgiveness or NAH?!

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  1. Really great information here. It appears that Brittany from Riverwalk was in line from what the Dept of Education told Shelly Bell, especially in regards to 25 or 30 year “term”. If I took 25yrs @ 12 months a year that is… drum roll… one more second to guess… YES 300 months or in the finance world a “300 month loan term”!

    I guess everybody knows they can file taxes on their own. In the day if you were like 99% of Americans you went to a Bookkeeper who filed the paperwork after gathering information on wages, family size, tax filing status etc. from you. If you were the other 1% of America you would fill out the tax paperwork yourself after reading, researching and trying to understand how everything applied or didn’t.

    Now, why pay for H&R Block or Turbo Tax? Well because a professional has already applied a majority, if not all the applications of the law and regulations to their service in order to get your taxes filed properly. Sounds like Brittany from Riverwalk does this also, just in the area of student loans.

    There are always Pro’s and Con’s in anything we encounter in this world. Some of which were effectively covered above by Shelly Bell. As I’ve researched it doesn’t appear that the “Catch 22” has anything to do with Riverwalk , but how the Federal Government applies it’s programs and debt forgiveness.

    If I go to a restaurant for dinner and pick an item off the menu, there is a fee I am going to pay for the food preparation service of the restaurant (the tip is for the service provided by the attendant). THIS IS ABSURD!!!! I can make dinner at home for FREE!!!!

    Paying a personal trainer to motivate me and my wife to endure the pain for vain when I can do so myself for free in the comfort of my own home…. again ABSURD.

    If I consolidate through a company, I can expect a fee associated for the service. If I refinance my car or mortgage I may pay an “Matriculation Fee”, an “Origination Fee” also known as a “Filing” or “Processing” Fee. I certainly don’t expect for an individual much less a business to work for free. That is where FREE Enterprise comes in. Businesses providing a service for a FEE.

    Take advantage of the student loan services, why not. It doesn’t appear anybody else is proactively attempting to save me money or lower my student loan payment. All I have to do is understand what my goal is… Am I trying to lower my payment? Am I trying to pay off my loan faster? Am I trying to put off paying my loan? Am I trying to collect my tax refund and not have it intercepted by the Department of Education? What are your goal in regards to your student loans? Sounds like Brittany from Riverwalk can help… I’m calling them at 877-200-6724 as in my research I found they are Certified Student Loan Specialist.

    1. I called dept. of Ed myself today and asked them for any help whatsoever to consolidate and they gave me the number to…. Guess who???? RIVERWALK!!! Seems legit to me! Why would they send me there if they (dept of Ed) could’ve helped(consolidated) my loans? Hmmmm? I agree with the aforementioned statement. I have to pay a fee but guess what? I will get to keep my tax return and wages will not be garnished! Annnnnnnnddddd! I qualified for a monthly payment of 0$$$$$$$$$$$ssss peeeeaaace

      1. I am glad things worked out in your favor. The Department of Ed did not respond to me this way. Be sure that you have the correct number to the Department of Ed. The instructions in the post are geared toward those who are going to the proper website and consolidating their own loans. Thank you for reading and replying! I appreciate you!

    2. IF you follow the directions in the post you do not have to pay any fees. It’s your choice to spend money to pay money. The post is for those who are not interested in paying fees they can avoid. Thank you for reading and applying.

    1. I have the same question… I just talked to them and when I got my contract info it said I need to pay a start up fee of $595…… Um if I had $595 I would not need help paying my loans each month…..

  2. I’m feel as if I’ve been scammed paying for a service that’s not really needed almost 700 dollars to iniate the consolidation they’ve been very poor at communication and returning calls ! The loans have doubled from the original loan amour. I started with and I’m really crying out loud because I thought this company would help my promblem not make it worse on me financially please save yourself some time and stay away from river walk ! The hidden fees and catches are just not worth it I fault myself should of definatly did more research !

    1. Hey I did the same thing and I tried to cancel but they did not respond accordingly therefore I ended up being “too late” to cancel my consolidation. I contacted the student loan services from the state and they advised me to change all my passwords and account user names and go to and discontinue my loan consolidation on file. That all worked I also changed my account I have them to withdraw the fees required and that worked as well. But now I’m nervous because I don’t know if they will sue me like they threatened to do when I respectfully tried to discontinue my account with river walk, and I don’t know if it will effect my credit in the future. So now I’m stuck trying to call other contacts I have been provided to help fix the situation and make sure I’m not pentalized. This is stressing me out so much. I wouldn’t have mind just going through with it if they didn’t talk to me so inappropriately. I do not wish to speak with these individuals ever again! They were really defensive when I spoke w them. Overall my loans are in good standing they are still deferred until next year! But I hope to resolve this issue and be able to get this burden off my shoulders!

      Did you end up going through with the process ? I am so afraid if I don’t it will come back to haunt me ! If you need numbers to call let me know I will kindly provide you with any needed ! This was an awful decision I wish I read more into this before jumping on board with River walk they are so ignorant they should be shut down for their awful customer service !

      1. Same thing happened to me. I signed the contract, and by my first payment, I realized I could consolidate my loans for free. I called them to cancel my service with them and the guy I talked to got very angry and defensive with me. He threatened to sue me and that this will affect my credit. I said I wanted nothing to do with this company. I respectfully told them they are scammers and will not get another penny from me. I had to change all my loan information and credit card. Sorry but I won’t pay $600 to a bunch of scammers.

  3. I am now dealing with river walk and I have been put through misery. They are asking for 500 dollars down and I already paid 125.00 I told them that my job doesn’t apply for public services and that I would just like my money back. I have talked to the director and he stated that thy can still enroll me on a good payment agreement. I’ve called my current student loan company and they have given me the number to consumer finance to put In a claim. I honestly just want my money back and to stop stressing if this is a scam or not.

  4. I was even stupider!!! I gave the person my SS #, my BIRTHDATE, and my DRIVERS LICENSE NUMBER!!!!!! Yeah. That’s how freakin stupid I am!!! My spidey sense didn’t go off until they asked for MY HUSBANDS information!!!!!! (All the same information that I so stupidly gave out!!). Then I said I would call them back. Then I started doing my research which is how I found out I was being scammed. Now I have the constant worry and checking my credit reports. Please people, and Shelly, KEEP SPREADING THE WORD LOUD AND CLEAR ABOUT THIS SCAM!!! I was a nurse with tons of student loans who had to quit my job to care for my elderly very sick father and went into default on my loans. It is just so hurtful that I was a victim of this when my heart was in the right place.


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