If you are applying for a Federal Student Loan, then you must have come across a familiar term called the student loan servicer. You might be unclear about who these companies are, what their role is when it comes to your student loans, and why they are important.
The student loan process can be confusing and we will be going through every key detail that concerns it. The company or organization which provides your student loan is the lender. In the case of Federal student loans, the lender is the Federal Government, or to be accurate, it's the U.S Department of Education (DOE).
A student loan servicer is a company that manages or services the loan repayments and its main job is to be an intermediary between you and your loan lender. It manages all the payments that are made by a borrower.
The lender provides you money to pay for the college. You now need to work with a student loan servicer to repay them. It's important to understand a servicer's role that they hold for your loans as you may be working with them for a long period.
Table of contents
- Role of student loan servicers
- Can you choose your federal loan servicer?
- How to find your student loan servicer?
- 9 Best Federal Loan Servicers
- CornerStone Services
- FedLoan Servicing
- Granite State
- HESC/Edfinancial Services
- Great Lakes Educational Loan Services
- OSLA Servicing
- How to resolve issues with your federal loan servicer
- How does the loan servicer work for Private loans?
Role of student loan servicers
The Federal Government is the largest provider of student loans for college students, graduates, and professionals. These loans are managed by loan servicers. If you are one of those who have applied for federal loans, then you have to work with them.
The loan servicer completes the billing of loans for borrowers, collects, and processes the payments. Besides, they provide help for borrowers in taking advantage of the policies and programs offered for the borrowers such as -
1. Solve borrower's problems
Paying off your federal student loan can take more than 20 years. At a particular point, you may be getting into problems relating to your bills and payment. During that time, your loan servicer will help you with it and make sure the goal of repayment is ensured.
2. Provide repayment plans
If you're struggling hard with your monthly loan payments, your servicer can help you with a repayment plan which has less rate and is affordable for you. It will cap your monthly payments from your income.
3. Loan forgiveness programs
Borrowers who are working in government or non-profit organizations can be qualified for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). Under this program, your remaining debt is forgiven after making 10 years of payments while serving in the public sector.
4. Forbearance and Deferment
If you want to temporarily halt your federal student loan payments due to hardship, your servicer can help you with it. You can opt for deferment or forbearance for your federal loans.
The servicer can help you in combining multiple loans into one, process it and help with the payments.
It can help you with altering your loan payments and its terms. Under government plans, the advice will be provided and the processing of the material that is required to make the changes by the government.
Federal loans for the current or upcoming school can be addressed with the school's Financial Aid Office. Contact your loan servicer for the existing federal loans, in case of queries.
Can you choose your Federal loan servicer?
Generally, borrowers are not able to choose their loan servicer as the federal government assigns them. The Department of Education gives a score to loan servicer companies every 3 months based on loan collection success and customer satisfaction. The loans are assigned based on the score of the loan servicer.
The loan servicer will get in contact with you after the first payment. You can find your loan servicer name by logging into the Federal Student Aid website.
Create an account with your servicer and get in touch with your bank when you need to start making payments. Servicers reduce the interest rate by 0.25%. If you have opted for automatic payment, it will save you around $1,000 in total payments based on the amount you owe and the term.
Across the life of your loans, the DOE may re-assign the servicer for various reasons. The payments remain unaltered and it's automatically transferred from your records. If your loans are re-assigned, the new servicer will get in touch with you and provide the information on the payment and actions to take the process forward.
If you have enrolled in a Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF), FedLoan Servicing will manage your loan. Another servicer might start the enrollment process, but once the loan is transferred, you get into the program.
How to find your student loan servicer?
Generally, your loans are assigned to the loan servicer by the U.S Department of Education after the first initial amount is paid out.
To find out your servicer, head to the National Student Data System, the central database for student aid which is under the U.S Department of Education.
You can get information on what type of loans you have, learn about your current balance with the loan status and much more.
To access that, you require identification information, which is your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID number. You receive the FSA ID when you first applied for financial aid by fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
If you have a private student loan, you can take a look at the credit reports or loan statements.
9 Best Federal Loan Servicers
The Federal Government has assigned these 9 companies to service federal student loan programs. The list of Federal Loan Servicers is given here.
Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc.
FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA)
Granite State - GSMR
Since we are not allowed to choose our own federal loan servicer, it is advised to gain a piece of in-depth knowledge about the loan servicer assigned to you. You should know about the programs offered by your loan servicer, and the history of customer relationship that they have maintained. You can find all the details regarding every loan servicer under here.
CornerStone Loan Services
CornerStone Education Loan Services is a Non-For-Profit Department of Education Servicer. It was established 35 years ago and provides good customer services for student loans throughout the country.
To guide and provide financing for higher education is the goal of CornerStone Services.
They teach students how to save for education, pursue scholarships and grants and also provide personal services to borrowers in order to promote responsible repayment.
Some positive and negative reviews have been posted since its onset. Many customers seem to be happy with the CornerStone customer services while others have opted to express their dissatisfaction with the same issue.
CornerStone offers quite a number of services and benefits to federal student loan borrowers, such as privacy protection. It doesn’t sell data or indulges in the violation of your privacy and it protects your information, according to recent student borrowers.
Some claimed to have gotten an automatic reduction in payment up to 0.25% on their interest rate upon enrollment. The contact details of CornerStone are given here -
Phone - 1-800-663-1662
P.O. Box 145122
Salt Lake City, UT
Website - www.mycornerstoneloan.org
The FedLoan Servicing is a federal student loan servicer established by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) to service student loans owned by the federal government.
They are one of the limited numbers of organizations approved by the Department of education for servicing of loans owned by the federal government.
To provide students with the highest level of quality customer service has been the goal of FedLoan Servicing. Making use of tools and resources available to help student borrowers manage their student loans through account access and online account management tools have also been its priority.
Public Reviews have criticized the company's customer service as unhelpful and impolite. Other complaints include that the FedLoan's website is outdated and uninformative.
While others attest having no issues with the servicing and having positive experiences in loan consolidation, many look upon FedLoan with contempt.
It is the loan servicer for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). They recommend their borrowers who are qualified for PSLF to submit an employment certification form for getting it earlier to get on the forgiveness track.
FedLoan servicing also monitors the TEACH grant recipient whose grants are converted into loans. Around 30,000 students received TEACH grants and most of them used it as loans. The contact details of FedLoan are given here -
Phone - 1-800-699-2908
P.O. Box 69184
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9184
Website - myfedloan.org
The Granite State Management & Resources was established in 1962 when the New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation, NHHEAF, awarded twenty-three $500 student loans, guaranteed by the NHHEAF.
Today the organization aspire to be recognized and known as one of the Nation's most capable, trusted, customer-friendly and innovative leader in providing educational loan services to students in order to enhance the promotion, advancement, and support of higher education for our state and our region.
Customer reviews state that their issues are not resolved with their customer service.
On the bright side, some students have reported that Granite State student loan servicer always makes useful information available about income-based repayment and that they provide calculators to ensure the best fit for borrowers. They also provide details about student loan forgiveness programs for which borrowers may be eligible according to student borrower's review.
If you are not seeking any major changeovers in your student loans, like applying for deferment or forbearance then the Granite state would not be a problem. Other than that, it will be easy for you if you are refinancing or consolidating your debts from a new servicer.
Phone - 1-888-556-0022
Granite State Management & Resources
P.O. Box 3420
Concord, NH 03302-3420
Website - www.gsmr.org
EdFinancial Services is a student loan servicer that provides customer services on behalf of the lender.
Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, they provide services that include answering questions, helping students with repayment plans, and processing student loan payments.
Being in the industry for over 25 years, the sole mission of EdFinancial is to find a better way to deliver exceptional student loan servicing for students and families worldwide.
Doing the right thing for our customers and each other makes the world a better place is boldly written on their portal.
Student borrowers have reported that when they fell behind in payments, EdFinancial services always looked for a solution instead of casting blame or making them feel negative about their situation as other services did.
Their website does offer resources and customer service reputations frequently and is willing to get down to help the borrower in finding the best repayment options.
Borrowers must be cautious and should always monitor their accounts and credit report. It makes sure that the payments are correctly allowed and the information is being passed correctly.
P.O. Box 36008
Knoxville, TN 37930-6008
Website - www.edfinancial.com
Great Lakes Educational Loan Services
Great Lakes Educational Loan Servicing Inc is an affiliate of Nelnet Diversity Solutions, LLC. They work with millions of students in over 6,000 schools and have partnered with over 1,000 lenders.
Although the student financial aid process is quite complex for students, families, and community-based organizations, Great Lakes aims at putting 51 years of experience to work by providing tools that simplify the process of servicing in order to save time.
They also strive to improve their services of giving students to make choices and understand options that lead to success in college and beyond. Great Lakes gives several flexible options on repayments as well.
Their customer service representatives are always on standby to give answers to any questions that you ask. If you are not clear and are having issues and trouble on making repayments, a call to Great Lakes can help you.
The customers of Great Lakes can access tools and services through their Financial Aid Professionals and Business Partners portals, as well as rely on their existing representatives and support channels
They help students to partake in potential task benefits and for applying for loan consolidation programs
Phone - 1-800-236-4300
P.O. Box 7860
Madison, QI 53707-7860
Website - mygreatlakes.org
MOHELA is a nationally-recognized leader in student loan servicing and higher education financing. They provide informative and responsive interactions to their customers to ensure that borrowers have a positive experience.
Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, with an operating center in Columbia, Missouri, and office in Washington, DC, MOHELA's prime focus is on student loan servicing.
MOHELA strives to provide its customers with a first-rate experience. To aid in repaying their student loans, they always try to listen, offer customized solutions to meet the specific needs of every customer and provide superior guidance as a dedicated resource expert.
Some say they are well-trained to understand Federal Policy and Regulations
Others have clearly stated that they are skilled in offering excellent customer service
MOHELA has an information center that looks at the answers and questions out there on the students regarding the repayment options and their benefit and general accounts to manage.
Phone - 1-888-866-4352
633 Spirit Drive
Chesterfield, MO 63005-1243
Website - www.mohela.com
Navient is a federal student loan servicer that provides help to its clients and millions of people, helping them achieve financial success through customer support.
They provide asset management and business processing solutions for education, healthcare, and government clients at the Federal, State, and Local levels.
To ensure account receivable management, perform quality collection services and payment processing, revenue enhancement services, and account servicing.
There are a lot of public good reviews, praising the savings rate of the reduction program. It seems to be a great hit for Navient loans which reached up for consumer protection.
Phone - 1-800-722-1300
Navient U.S. Department of Education Loan Servicing
P.O. Box 9635
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773-9635
Website - www.navient.com
Nelnet student loan company provides educational and financial services. It provides several ways for the borrowers to make payment and its customer service seems to be good by being available 24/7. Their services include loan servicing and payment processing, education planning, and asset management.
Providing superior customer experiences
To create an amazing work environment
To pursue opportunities for diversification and growth
To communicate openly and honestly
To give back to the community in which we live and work
There are some drawbacks, one of which is their website which has a lack of transparency.
On the bright side, Nelnet servicing helps its student borrowers sign up for federal benefits such as forbearance, deferment or income-driven repayment plans, and even provide some access to private loans through their partnership with some third-party companies.
Phone - 1-888-486-4722
P.O. Box 82561
Lincoln, NE 68501-2561
Website - www.nelnet.com
OSLA Student Loan Servicing
Oklahoma Student Loan Authority (OSLA) is a federal student loan servicer and was created in the year 1972 to function as a public trust by the Oklahoma legislature for the benefit of appropriate funds.
At the end of 2009, OSLA was found to have serviced $1.6 billion of student loans.
Reviews on OSLA from few customers suggest that the visitors lack the required information they seek and need which could help them in deciding on how they move around. OSLA has a tone of reviews from people, both positive and negative ones.
One benefit of using OSLA servicing is that your OSLA student loans can be refinanced by taking out a new loan with some private lender which pays off all pending debts. Refinancing is one of two ways you easily switch loan servicers if OSLA services aren't satisfactory.
Phone - 1-866-264-9762
Mailing Address - (for general correspondence)
P.O. Box 18475
Oklahoma City, OK 73154-0475
Website - public.osla.org
How to resolve issues with your Federal Loan Servicers
Sometimes people might have a problem with their loan servicer. It was reported that Navient which is the largest servicer, faced high profile lawsuits against them for allegedly misleading its borrowers and for mishandling their funds and account.
Get to know about your rights as a loan borrower and educate yourself on the paydown options of your debt in a manageable option in a cost-effective way. It will prevent you from been defrauded.
The first person that you need to contact if you get into any problem is your loan servicer. Get in contact with them, narrate and specify your problems, which can be related to the balance of your loan or its status. Get a collection of all the records and documentation with the original copies. Take notes of all the names of the agents you had a conversation with and record it.
If your queries or compliant are not solved by your servicer, then you can get in touch with the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group for assistance. Once your information on account of the problem has been documented, the group will help you to get it solved in an honest and convenient way.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
The CFPB is the final option to consider when both of the options cannot help or address the issue. Submit a complaint that consists of all the details of what the servicer is doing wrong. Then the CFPB will get it to the servicer in order to address it. CFPB collects all the records of the complaint who have reported all servicers.
How does the loan servicer work for private loans?
If you hold private student loans from a bank, the Credit Union is more or less a transparent loan servicer who oversees the activities.
Private lenders service the loans by themselves and then they contract the third-party servicer to manage the student loan. Under any circumstance, you are not allowed to choose your servicer.
Getting hold of your original paperwork is the best thing to do after taking out your private student loan.
Down the lane of starting repayment, after certain years, you are most likely to get in touch with the servicer who sends you bills, collects it, and processes your payments. It is also possible that your loans are sold by your lender. The current owner of your loan might not be a bank or financial institution.
For a Federal student loan, the servicer does many other things like modifying your repayment plans or setting you up for loan forgiveness.
Private loans don't go under the same regulations and you cannot assume that they will also offer you these student loan services. These loans are less flexible in adjusting your payments. If you are struggling to repay your loan, get in contact with your servicer on what he/she can do for you.
If you find yourself dissatisfied with the private loan servicer then try to resolve the situation with the servicer. You are still free to contact the CFPB for any help you may need.