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'How could I get duped by these people?'

In addition to managing debt short-term by using an income-driven repayment plan if eligible, Bartels advises borrowers to take the long view on debt management, too. Thats because income-driven repayment plans provide for debt balances to be forgiven after 20 to 25 years of payments, and forgiven balances generally are subject to income tax. Depending on the size of the forgiven sum, the tax liability could be substantial.

It is likely that many veterinarians will have a loan balance remaining to be forgiven ... Bartels said, noting that many young veterinarians today have debt-to-income ratios greater than 2-to-1 meaning they owe more than twice as much as they earn in a year. Therefore, figuring out how much they need to save to pay the tax hit down the road is a crucial piece of their student-loan repayment education, as well as [part of] their long-term financial plan, Bartels said.

Saving for emergencies, retirement and other goals is another consideration. For that reason, minimizing loan payments, even if it means watching ones balance grow rather than shrink, can be the wiser course, Bartels said, noting that doing so potentially may save a borrower tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars over the long haul.

In Rosainzs case, Bartels said he counseled her to learn what options she had and then become her own best advocate. But as for her obtaining a refund from SLS Managers, he thought it unlikely. Once they have your money, Bartels said, theyre very reluctant to give it back.

Rosainz followed Bartels advice. Familiar with loan servicer? She was. Investigate options for consolidation? Do that. Eventually, she enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan called Pay As You Earn.

She also persisted in pursuing SLS Managers. When, five months after canceling the agreement with them, she still hadnt received a refund, Rosainz contacted the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to complain.

I just got sick and tired of dealing with it, she said.

At the time Rosainz lodged her complaint against SLS Managers, 81 other customers had already done the same. (As of today, the BBB had received 92 complaints in three years.) The bureau has placed an alert against the company and given it an F rating. NSProcessing also has an F rating from the BBB. The bureau identifies the owner of NSProcessing as Dean Robbins and the manager as Mike Radwan.

Many of the complainants against SLS Managers, like Rosainz, informed the BBB that they sought refunds. In some cases, SLS Managers told bureau officials the company had contacted the customers, but some of the customers werent satisfied with the interaction. Rosainz felt sure her money was long gone. Then one day, she checked her bank account, and there was a deposit from SLS Managers.

They actually refunded every cent that I paid them, she said, elated that her efforts had paid off.

The elation faded later when she realized that wasnt quite the case.

Asked by the VIN News Service to verify the amount of the refund she received last summer, Rosainz recently discovered SLS Managers had refunded only $2,336.46 about $911 less than what she believed she was owed.

I dont know how I missed that at the time, she said.

After contemplating trying to contact SLS Managers about the missing money, Rosainz decided it would be too exasperating. I just knew I wasnt going to get through to them, she said Friday. I would love to get the money back; its just frustrating to deal with.

On Monday, during a call to her loan servicer Navient to double-check a few things, Rosainz was gratified to encounter a sympathetic agent. She said not to worry, that since February of 2015 after I parted ways with SLS, Ive made solid payments and am handling my account well, Rosainz reported. The agent told Rosainz that she knows of borrowers who had worse experiences with debt-relief companies, people that ... paid over $1,000 monthly to find out that no payments were being made.

Now, thinking about new veterinary graduates facing the daunting task of managing their student debt payments, Rosainz has this advice: Definitely, definitely, do your research. Read directly from the Department of Education pages and websites, and know what youre doing before you contact any company [for payment help]. And certainly, any companies like [SLS Managers], just avoid, she added. Why pay somebody to do something you can do yourself?