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African American woman counting money in living room

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One Philadelphia native has decided to mark her milestone year by opening a student loan debt repayment that is the first of its kind.

Sonia Lewis, known to many as The Student Loan Doctor, is on a mission to put Sallie Mae and Navient in check. She has been helping people forge a path out of debt for a while. It all started in her place of worship.

“I started doing consulting for people in church, then the church sent the community, and the community sent friends,” she told The Shade Room. “My passion started from my own debt. I needed to get myself together and sit my own self down. I felt like other people needed this too.”

She continued, “Plus, I realized there were no classes to help people really understand their debt.”

Business was so good that Lewis had to set up shop! The Shade Room reports, she has opened what may be the first ever black and woman-owned student loan debt repayment company. Her business is called The Student Loan Doctor, LLC. On her website, she offers a number of resources

If you can’t make it to Philly for an in-person consultation, she’ll come to you. Reportedly, Lewis does workshops all over the United States while she’s working on her doctorate degree.

“My dissertation is on how student loan debt disproportionately affects African Americans. African-American women are affected by student loan debt the most because we have the most degrees,” Lewis shared. “As a result, we see black women excluded from home buying because of credit and other issues, and that trickles down.”

You can also tune in for some of Lewis’ advice on her podcast.

Lewis also offers up a number of resources on her website, which help clients to avoid wage garnishments, set their own budgets, and follow steps for successful student loan repayments.

Tackling student loan debt, but Lewis encourages clients to face that truth head-on so that they can handle it now and build wealth down the road.

“It’s possible but you also have to be realistic. I always like to say we start with hope and a plan. We have to talk about budgets, and design life around your student loans because it isn’t going anywhere,” she said.

Lewis adds that people have many options for paying back their student loans, but they just need to find the right solution.

“There are so many programs that are legit to get this forgiven. We aim to be creative with solutions,” Lewis explaine. “It’s not just about the debt but learning to plan financially so your children’s children also have a plan.”

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