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Michigan Attorney General warns borrowers of student loan forgiveness scammers

Karel Vega
The U.S. Department of Education opened applications for student loan relief earlier this month.

Michigan’s attorney general is warning student borrowers to be cautious of scammers taking advantage of the federal student loan forgiveness program.

Attorney General Dana Nessel is urging student borrowers to continue getting information on debt forgiveness from official sources. That’s after the U.S. Department of Education opened applications for student loan relief earlier this month.

Eligible student borrowers can receive up to $20,000 in relief from their federal loans if they received a Pell Grant and up to $10,000 in relief if they did not.

Nessel says scammers will pretend to be agencies helping borrowers. In a statement, she said scammers will rush borrowers and try to get them to give away personal or financial information.

"It is important to remember that the federal government will not proactively email or text you to take advantage of this program," Nessel said. "Residents should rely on legitimate sources for information and not fall for messages that create a sense of urgency or demand financial information.”

Ryan Fewins-Bliss is the executive director of the Michigan College Access Network. He says borrowers who need help should go to their loan servicer or people they know for questions.

“Rely on someone you know, rely on a institution that you're working with, whether it's college or some other advisor, a financial advisor, someone who knows what they're doing and someone that you already trust,” Fewins-Bliss said.

He says it's hard to fight against scamming because official sources aren’t there when the scam messages come through. But he has one piece of advice.

"Make sure you're not paying anybody for this service," Fewins-Bliss said. "The whole idea is that you're getting loan forgiveness and debt forgiven. Not that you're paying the federal government or any other third party to file.”

The application for federal loan relief will remain open until the end of 2023. Loan payments are set to resume at the beginning of next year.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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