Student Loan Counseling

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Critical Student Loan Consolidation Deadline Extended to June 30
The Biden Administration announced yesterday that the consolidation deadline of April 30 has been extended to June 30, 2024. This will give federal student loan borrowers time to consolidate their loans and qualify for forgiveness under the payment count adjustment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness, even if they won’t have reached the number of payments necessary before the end of June.

The payment count adjustment is now anticipated to be fully implemented in September 2024. At that time, borrowers with Direct Loans or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans held by the U.S. Department of Education (Department) will see a full and accurate count of their progress toward loan forgiveness. Because of this updated timeline, borrowers with non-federally held FFEL loans (That’s 90% of all FFEL loan borrowers.) who apply to consolidate by June 30 can still benefit from the payment count adjustment. The prior consolidation deadline was April 30.

“The Department is working swiftly to ensure borrowers get credit for every month they’ve rightfully earned toward forgiveness,” said U.S. Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal. “FFEL borrowers should consolidate as soon as possible in order to receive this benefit that has already provided forgiveness to nearly 1 million borrowers.”

The Department first announced the payment count adjustment in April 2022 to address extensive evidence, including from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, that borrowers did not have a proper accounting of their time to forgiveness under IDR plans, as well as widespread evidence that servicers had not been properly following regulations and Department contracts governing the use of forbearances, resulting in borrowers spending excessive amounts of time in forbearances. To rectify these problems and ensure an accurate count going forward, the payment count adjustment automatically counts months in the following statuses:
• Any months in a repayment status, regardless of the payments made, loan type, or repayment plan;
• Twelve or more months of consecutive forbearance or 36 or more months of cumulative forbearance for any individual loan;
• Any months spent in economic hardship or military deferments in 2013 or later;
• Any months spent in any deferment (with the exception of in-school deferment) prior to 2013; and
• Any time in repayment (or deferment or forbearance, if applicable) on earlier loans before consolidation of those loans into a consolidation loan.

Borrowers also can receive credit toward PSLF for any month covered by the payment count adjustment as long as they certify their qualifying employment for that month.

If you’re unsure of what this announcement might mean for you, we encourage you to contact Martin Lynch at Cambridge Credit Counseling. Cambridge provides free counseling to all of our members. Until June 30th, you can reach Marty 7 days a week from 8 a.m.–10 p.m. at (413) 883-3390.

Before calling, he only asks that you access your account at to determine what kind of loans you have, specifically, whether your loans were issued through the Federal Family Education Loan Program, often abbreviated as “FFELP” in your dashboard. FFELP loans were issued through 2010. All loans issued after 2010 were made through the William Ford “Direct” loan program.

Address Your Student Loan Debt

Going to college is challenging enough, but repaying the resulting student loan debt can be even more daunting. Nonprofit student loan counseling may be a solution for you. Student loan counseling typically begins with a thorough evaluation of your overall financial picture. The evaluation allows a counselor to have a better understanding of your individual circumstances to make the best recommendations. The counselor will go over monthly income and expenses and pull a credit report for a list of debts, including all student loans. The counselor can then help you develop a repayment strategy that makes the most sense.

Recent college grads and those struggling with repayment can benefit. Anyone who has questions about their student loan repayment, or is struggling to afford their current payment plan and needs help navigating their options, can gain guidance from a well-versed student loan counselor.

Among the nearly 45 million Americans with student loans in repayment, 2.1 million borrowers are more than 90 days delinquent in paying that debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The New York Federal Reserve data shows that 4.8 million student loan borrowers are in default, proving this is a widespread problem.

Student Loan Counseling Through Cambridge Credit Counseling

The PEF Membership Benefits Program makes a student loan counseling benefit available through Cambridge Credit Counseling. The counseling benefit is designed to provide a better understanding of student loan repayment options and/or debt consolidation opportunities. Student loan counseling can help ensure that borrowers are aware of all their federal student loan options, before they’ve borrowed or while they’re still in repayment. Cambridge has been assisting consumers with eliminating debt for more than 25 years and their organization features more than 50 nationally certified counselors who will work with you to determine the most appropriate course of action for your specific debt situation.

Cambridge Credit Counseling believes that assisting you with financial challenges goes far beyond simply helping you with your student loan debt. You will have access to a wide variety of services including debt management, foreclosure intervention, rental counseling, first-time homebuyer courses, bankruptcy counseling, and reverse mortgage counseling.

  • Financial education resources and credit counseling services are always free
  • You save 20% on the student loan document preparation services

Student loan counseling can help ensure that you are aware of all your federal student loan options, before you borrow or while you’re in repayment. The services provided by Cambridge include:

  • Free counseling to help you effectively manage your loans
  • Free live webinars and seminars with extensive Q&A
  • Information about all federal repayment plans and public service loan forgiveness
Read how Cambridge helped Scott Williamson with his student loans


Active, dues-paying PEF members and retirees, and family members.

Discounted services

Access to an online student solutions portal (a one-time fee of $21.95) that can help explain the various repayment options for paying down student debt including:

  • Reduced monthly payments
  • Income-based repayment plans
  • Student loan debt consolidation, cancellation, and forgiveness
  • Loan rehabilitation, even after years of non-payment
  • Public service loan forgiveness for qualified teachers, state workers, and non-profit employees

This portal will help you make decisions in your best interest. You will also receive a customized report from Cambridge.

Assistance in preparing student loan documents. ( a one-time fee of $195 fee)
Cambridge prefers that you learn how to manage your loans independently, but this service is available for those in need. A Cambridge certified counselor will complete the necessary paperwork on your behalf in order to carry out the chosen repayment plan. This fee is payable in five monthly installments of $39 upon the completion of the paperwork.

An annual review/recertification of your student loan situation. (a one-time fee of $49)
Cambridge will remind you to submit your re-certification paperwork and assist in determining any changes to your repayment structure.

How to Contact Cambridge Credit Counseling

To contact a Cambridge Credit Counseling student loan counselor, you can:

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For debt-related questions or issues.

About Cambridge Credit Counseling

Cambridge has been helping people achieve financial freedom for 25 years. They offer a suite of services to help with nearly every source of consumer debt. They believe that assisting consumers with financial challenges goes far beyond simply getting them out of debt. Their holistic approach gives people access to a wide variety of services, including debt management, student loan counseling, foreclosure intervention, rental counseling, first-time homebuyer courses, bankruptcy counseling, and reverse mortgage counseling. Cambridge is licensed or approved to conduct business in every state and they have more than 50 nationally certified counselors on staff, most of whom are cross-certified to provide assistance in several areas to meet the needs of consumers. Cambridge is committed to providing the highest level of quality in all aspects of every service they provide and they are committed to helping individuals and families resolve their financial challenges.