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Once you’ve confirmed the accuracy of your credit reports, you can begin working on the mistakes that you’re responsible for. One easy way to pinpoint your credit-score weaknesses is to sign up for a free WalletHub account. Your Credit Analysis will include a grade for each component of your latest credit score as well as personalized advice for how to improve problem areas.
National Debt Relief wants to get the word out about their program and is sponsoring this scholarship to help build awareness with the younger generations while they are just getting their start on their financial lives. Therfore, we would like you to write about options for debt consolidation. And while debt settlement is not exactly debt consolidaton, it does consolidate a consumer's debt into one monthly payment they can afford. The program has helped thousands of clients resolve billions of dollars in unsecured debt and provided a brigther financial future.

Other debt consolidation options, such as balance transfer credit cards, can have fees or interest rates that can vary over time. You should know that if you refinance your existing loan, you may lose rights or benefits under it, including state or federal rights (such as those under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act). Loans cannot be used for education-related expenses (e.g., tuition and fees, books, supplies, miscellaneous personal expenses, room and board) or to refinance student loans. Please read the important information about consolidation. Learn more
Assess your current debt total by listing out your debts, including credit cards, student loans, car loans and any other accounts. Track your spending to see where your money goes each month, identifying areas where you may be able to cut back. Compare your debt payment obligations and your spending to create a budget and determine how much you can realistically pay on your debt each month.
Don’t believe anyone that says you can’t pay down your debts on your own. It’s entirely possible to muster the financial resources required to shrink and eventually eliminate your balances for good. To do this, you’ll need to pay down your debts one at a time. You could begin by working on the credit card with the highest interest rate while still making the minimum payments on your other credit cards. This is called the debt stacking method and is favored by many experts because over the long run it will save you the most money. However, it can take a long time to pay off a high-interest credit card especially if it has a big balance. You will have to persevere and just keep chipping away at it.
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In 2015, following a cluster of student suicides at the University of York, the university set up a Student Mental Ill-health Task Group. Its report to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts, in March 2016 offered a number of recommendations. It proposed a headline investment of £500,000 over three years to improve university support for student mental health and to ensure better integration with NHS services. It also deployed a systematic approach to improvement via engagement with students and staff, action planning of interventions and measurement of outcomes. From 2017 onwards, to embed and sustain this strategic approach, York, along with the University of the West of England, Bristol, and Cardiff University, will pilot implementation of the whole university approach set out in this framework.
While many people choose unsecured personal loans, there are also plenty of people who consolidate debt using secured loans. Secured loans are great if you don’t have a good credit score – they allow you to secure the loan against an asset or your savings. It means if you don’t pay the loan back, the bank can use your collateral to get their money back.
Payday loans. Payday loans are typically short-term loans for $500 or less due on your next payday. Payday loans usually have extremely high interest rates, often a $15 per $100 fee that equates to an APR of almost 400 percent. They are exceptionally risky, high-cost loans that typically have interest rates far higher than existing credit card debt and terms that are too short to help consolidate and pay off debt.
A variable-rate loan has an interest rate that changes over time. They are typically tied to the U.S. prime rate, which is a foundation rate for loan products used by American lenders. With a variable-rate loan, you may have a lower starting interest rate, but your rate and payment amount can change over time when there are changes to the U.S. prime rate. Some variable-rate loans have a cap, which puts a limit on the maximum interest rate. Variable-rate loans often have lower starting interest rates, although that is not always the case.
*Clients who are able to stay with the program and get all their debt settled realize approximate savings of 50% before fees, or 30% including our fees, over 24 to 48 months. All claims are based on enrolled debts. Not all debts are eligible for enrollment. Not all clients complete our program for various reasons, including their ability to save sufficient funds. Estimates based on prior results, which will vary based on specific circumstances. We do not guarantee that your debts will be lowered by a specific amount or percentage or that you will be debt-free within a specific period of time. We do not assume consumer debt, make monthly payments to creditors or provide tax, bankruptcy, accounting or legal advice or credit repair services. Not available in all states. Please contact a tax professional to discuss tax consequences of settlement. Please consult with a bankruptcy attorney for more information on bankruptcy. Depending on your state, we may be available to recommend a local tax professional and/or bankruptcy attorney. Read and understand all program materials prior to enrollment, including potential adverse impact on credit rating.

Credit counselors may charge expensive fees, and some creditors may refuse to work with the debt management plan. It’s generally a good idea to avoid credit counseling companies. Although debt management plans can be helpful for some consumers, they shouldn’t be the first choice. Be wary of a credit counseling service that offers a debt management plan as your first option, especially if they haven’t completed a thorough review of your financial situation.


The Lifetime Learning Credit is being repealed, which allows a credit offset of 20% on the first $10,000 of your education expenses.  This translates into a deduction of up to $2,000, which could be used for many years as you had education expenses. The big difference between the American Opportunity Tax Credit & the Lifetime Learning Credit is that the latter allows for deductions based on vocational expenses.  By removing this tax credit it is hurting those who are looking to improve their skill and gain useful hands-on training in a field that may not be available at a traditional university

Longer credit histories typically, though not always, can mean improved scores. What it does show to prospective creditors is that you are able to manage lines of credit in a responsible manner for a significant amount of time. Note that when creditors receive your credit report, it does not just show length of account, but average balance, as well as how often payments are late or missed. The graph below looks at the age of your credit history versus the average score for that amount of time.
In some cases we will file separate charges with the Federal Trade Commission and Bureau of Financial Protection against each  Credit Bureau and each individual creditor. This procedure relies on using the required legal language and then holding the creditors and  credit bureaus responsible by filing appropriate charges and providing the requisite evidence that the credit bureaus and creditors had notice but were negligent in following the law.
If you are considering using a debt relief or debt consolidation company, arm yourself with information. For a fee, they negotiate with your creditors on your behalf, resulting in lower balances or interest rates. Legitimate debt relief companies will obtain a written agreement from each one of your creditors, detailing the terms of the agreement, your obligations, and what will be reported to the credit bureaus. In some cases, if your balances are lowered the creditor might report bad debt or a charge-off, which will negatively impact your credit history and score. Also keep in mind that debt relief companies generally charge higher interest rates than your bank or mortgage lender, particularly if you have less than stellar credit. So you might not save much in the long run, especially once you factor in fees. It’s up to you to do the math.
Your debt would be unaffordable, even after consolidation. When you’re struggling to keep up with payments and your debt has become a crisis, you might need a a different solution. This is when you might want to consider a debt relief program that will help you get your debt under control. For some people, filing for bankruptcy might also be worth considering as a way to get relief.
Most companies send generic, automated dispute letters on a monthly basis and charge an ongoing fee (potentially for years). You could do this yourself! They DO NOT have any urgency to get results. Think about it. The longer you stay in their program, the more money they make! They DO NOT audit creditors. Credit is complex. Using our investigative research team – we quickly assess the best way to respond to get results. They DO NOT utilize an in-house lawyer. They DO NOT pair you with a credit analyst for the whole process.
The helpline is based at StepChange’s headquarters on the edge of Leeds’s sprawling shopping precinct. With rows of spotless desks and headset-wearing advisers bowed over their computers, it looks like a call centre. But there are no sales targets on white boards and a prominent sign dangling from the ceiling reminds staff: “We know debt. We understand the causes, but most importantly we know the way out.”

If you don’t have any credit history, consider opening a credit card that you don’t use or use very sparingly. The card will at least be reported on your credit history and build up a history of its own. One note: It may be best to have a card that you use a little bit and pay off in full each month. Why? This will prevent the issuer from closing the card due to inactivity. When you apply for a new card, you can also find out about the issuers policies on closing cards for inactivity.
Depending on your creditworthiness, you may be able to receive a lower interest rate on a debt consolidation loan than you are currently paying on your debt, saving you money on monthly payments and overall interest. Another option for lowering your monthly payment is with a long loan term. However, a longer loan term means you may pay more interest total.
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