This Graduate is Helping Others Pay Off Their Student Loans With Her Own Debt Repayment Company

“I realized there were no classes or places I could go locally that could assist me with my student loans.”

Whether you're a current student or seasoned graduate, managing loans can be an overwhelming task, especially if you don't have access to resources to help you along the way. That's why Sonia Lewis started a debt repayment company called The Student Loan Doctor, LLC. It's a business that offers people guidance, strategies, and steps to handling their student loans, and it is being called the first Black-owned and first woman-owned student loan repayment company in the U.S.. 


Lewis, a 30-year-old Philadelphia native who is currently completing her doctorate degree, hosts student loan clinics (or seminars) nationwide. As a grad student, she is no stranger to the struggles of loan debt; in fact it's that struggle that inspired her to open her business.  

"I was inspired to do the work because of my own student loan debt," Lewis told A Plus. "I was really in a negative place with my own debt and I thought to myself, if this is difficult to me and I have a professional background in this field, how many others must be affected by this debt?"

Photo courtesy of Sonia Lewis

Before launching her business, Lewis began by helping people in her local community. "The work began with me doing consulting for people in church, then the church sent the community, and the community sent friends," she explained. "Also, I realized there were no classes or places I could go locally that could assist me with my student loans."

This is especially true for Black debtors — particularly Black women, a marginalized demographic. In an interview with The Shade Room, Lewis said, "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. [...] As a result, we see Black women excluded from home buying because of credit and other issues, and that trickles down."

"Our target client is someone who is ready to take control of their finances, take control of their loans and create a feasible plan to repay their loans," Lewis told A Plus. "Most of our clients by either the nature of who we are, or by statistically who is most affected by student loan debt, is an African-American woman age 25-45 years. While we happily serve everyone, the African-American woman is on 75 percent average the main representation of our client."

Sonia Lewis, aka The Loan Doctor, hosts a debt repayment clinic.  Photo courtesy of Sonia Lewis

As for how the Student Loan Doctor actually works, Lewis says, "We offer a free discovery call first to assess our clients' needs, next is the consultation which is a 30 minute one-on-one with a coach to conduct a personal review of the client's student loan profile. The consultation allows the coach to create a customized plan for the client and their needs. Lastly, we assist clients with their student loan repayment needs during the appointment stage. Our goal is for clients to understand their challenges and to become proactive in the solution for their student loan debt concerns."

"By being a current student, I am able to empathize with others on creating a realistic and affordable plan for student loan repayment," Lewis told us. 

Along with her business, Lewis and her team also have a non-profit called Legacy Builders Foundation which hosts free live and virtual student loan repayment clinic events. You can learn more about Lewis's upcoming events on her website and Instagram. She also offers helpful debt management tips on her podcast, The Student Loan Doctor, which can be heard on or Itunes.

Learn more about The Student Loan Doctor in the video below.

Cover image courtesy of Sonia Lewis.


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