Student loan debt is a nightmare. Here’s your wake up call. | Dedicated

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The Loan Wars

It’s no secret that student loan debt has become a crisis. Class of 2016 graduates who took out student loans will leave school with an average of $37,173 in debt – the highest amount in history, reports CBS News. Worse, one in six borrowers today are behind on payments or in default.

But just because the rest of the country is burdened by unmanageable payments, late fees, and poor credit doesn’t mean you have to suffer the same fate.

Meet Student Loan Hero – the best tool you can find to pay off your student loan debt. Last week the company launched several new tools to help users shake off the long shadow of student loans.

Their free consolidation tool assists users in filing forms for federal student loan consolidation; a new loan management dashboard offers up a centralized hub where users can sync and track their outstanding loans and receive repayment strategy advice; and a financial marketplace, where users can access credit-building products, refinancing options, personal loans, and more.

Student Loan Hero was founded in 2012 by Andrew Josuweit, who suffered through his own debt crisis upon graduation.

“I got out of college in 2009, at the bottom of the recession,” Josuweit told us. “I entered into deferment to pause payments… and ultimately my debt went up to $107,000 at its peak.”

Despite being conscientious about repaying his loans, Josuweit still ran into trouble.

“I graduated with 16 different student loans,” he said, “and I lost track of two of them which ended up in default. When that happens you typically have to pay up to 25% of the principal, as well as accrue several thousand dollars in penalties.”

Similar offerings from other financial services companies cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $700, but Josuweit is committed to keeping Student Loan Hero’s services completely free, and without any hidden costs.

“When I was trying to get my loan problems sorted out, no one was providing me with the right guidance,” he said. “They were giving me advice based on just one of the loans that they saw, or I was dealing with customer service reps at Sallie Mae who didn’t care about my personal situation. That was the point where we realized there’s a real need for a tool that could help people figure out the right way out of student debt.”

You can get started refinancing your college or grad school debt with Student Loan Hero right here.