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TheStreet Open House

MMI Study Suggests Need For Holistic Debt Counseling

Forty-two percent of clients with student loan debt were unaware of all payment options

SUGAR LAND, Texas, Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to a recent survey of Money Management International (MMI) clients, after consulting with their student loan servicers about repayment, a surprising 42 percent of clients were not aware that Income Based Repayment is an option for paying their student loans.

Other findings include a striking 27 percent of those with student loan debt were struggling with student loan payments, had missed payments or were already in default. In addition, 50 percent of them owed more than $25,000 in student loans.

"Based on the results of our client survey and the fact that 23 percent of our clients carry student loan debt, it is obvious that consumers having financial difficulties are more likely to need assistance and education regarding all their debt obligations," said Jo Kerstetter, vice president of education at Money Management International.

A more holistic approach to counseling is needed given the significant number of clients who carry student loan debt and who are not fully aware of all repayment options available to them.

To accomplish a more holistic approach, MMI is proactively developing training for their credit counselors to more effectively assist clients who contact them for help with debt issues that include student loan debt.

MMI is also seeking to improve access for those needing assistance with student loan debt by working with other organizations including the National Council for Higher Education Resources (NCHER) and the Student Loan Alliance (SLA).

"As students and borrowers continue to struggle in these challenging economic times and with increasing student loan debt loads and default rates, the local and personalized debt counseling, outreach and financial literacy activities that the members of the National Council of Higher Education Resources provide are more important than ever," said Shelly Repp, president of the National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER).  

"The sole mission of the Student Loan Alliance is designed to promote the important role of independent, nonprofit counselors to increase outreach to borrowers needing counseling, provide counseling to ensure at risk borrowers are adequately matched with the best work out solution, while providing holistic counseling to assist in best managing overall consumer debt," said Larry Gilmore, president of the Student Loan Alliance (SLA). "Though this study is specific to MMI borrowers, its findings likely reflect borrowers currently serviced by credit counselors across the country."  

For more information on the MMI Student Loan Survey, please contact Jo Kerstetter at 301.948.0975 or Jo.Kerstetter@MoneyManagement.org.  

About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit-counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24/7 by telephone and Internet. MMI is a member of the National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) and the Student Loan Alliance (SLA). To learn more, visit MoneyManagement.org or call 800.432.7310.

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Contact: Jo KerstetterNational Spokesperson713.394.5927 Jo.Kerstetter@MoneyManagement.org

SOURCE Money Management International

Copyright 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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