Graduating from college can be one of the greatest feelings in the world! Receiving that dignified piece of paper that shows you have successfully completed your coursework in your particular field-of-study and are now withhold the skills to take a position that reflects said studies can be empowering.
However, as the celebratory energy subsidies, eventually those loans you took out to assist you on the journey to your degree catch up with you and can sometimes make the dream feel like a nightmare.
According to a report from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), out of the 44 million borrowers in the United States who hold $1.4 trillion in outstanding student loan debt, women make up about two-thirds of the nation’s student loan debt as a whole.
While this can be looked upon as a daunting statistic, it is a reality for women across the nation. However, one woman is looking to help other women save money while taking on their student loan debt head-on.
PHOTO: Because Of Them We Can
Sonia Lewis, better known as “The Student Loan Doctor,” created her company due to her own painful experience with debt. When she was fresh out of school, she told Essence she considered herself an “Overdraft Queen,” a title we are sure many of us can relate to. Eventually, under growing debt, discomfort and loss, Lewis realized it was time to stop running from her financial woes and solve them.
“I no longer had the financial support, so it was time for me to be my own support system,” Lewis said to Essence.
After a long, confusing phone call with her loan provider, the idea for the Student Loan Doctor was born.
“When it came time for me to start paying my student loans, I took off a day from work and called my loan servicer… I asked myself, ‘If it was this difficult for me, and I know what questions to ask, what about the person who doesn’t know what to ask?'” Lewis shared with Black Enterprise.
After getting herself on track financially, Lewis wanted to reach back and help other borrowers who may not know where to start their journey to financial freedom. Her sessions started off locally with people who attended her church and then expanded to people in her community. Eventually her passion grew, and in 2016, she officially owned "The Student Loan Doctor LLC," the first African American and woman-owned student loan repayment company in the U.S.
According to her website, the services the company provides are: “coaching to help with planning for repayment, loan rehabilitation, consolidation, refinancing, become student loan ready for the home buying process, monthly budgeting, planning for college or graduate school and loan forgiveness.” Lewis and her team to this day have helped thousands of borrowers and on average, helps them to save $300 per month in student loan payments.
“Borrowing money for school influences every major decision adults make. By having too much debt, we are unable to increase our net worth by saving and investing. By being delinquent, we limit our ability to become [homeowners].”
Lewis is also focused on helping women increase their ability to create financial legacies in our community that withstand the tests of time.
“The average net worth of African-American women is under $5, and we have to change this. We are not building a legacy for our families, and that has to become a focus for the Black community if we want generational wealth.”
She also wants women to have a fair shot of becoming homeowners and not be overlooked due to their choice to take out a student loan in order to further their education.
“Our staff works, individually, with clients by helping them repair their credit, budget their money, and create a strategy to tackle their debt. How they feel at the end of our session and the progress they make is what matters most to our team.”
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Need our help? Student loans making you sick? Ready to buy or invest in your first home? Ready to improve your credit score? Do you need to speak with a coach during a free discovery call to learn how we can help you? You may schedule via doctorpleasehelpme.com or the first link in the profile!
To learn more about Lewis and The Student Loan Doctor LLC, click here to visit her website.
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