Student loan servicers are the companies that collect payments on your debts for you. Sometimes these are private lenders, but most times they’re government-backed, meaning that it’s not just you making the monthly payment and dealing with paperwork.
What does this mean for you? It means that we have to know who these services are and what they do so we can make sure our money is going where it needs to go.
What are student loan servicers?
A student loan servicer is a company or a collection agency that gets your loan payment and processes it for you. They typically handle your student loan debt through an instalment loan, which means you pay a fixed monthly payment that goes directly to them.
Some private student loan servicers offer plans that involve your monthly payment going directly to the lender, while others may rely more on receiving payments and managing your debt.
Can I switch student loan servicers? While many borrowers don’t have a choice in who their student loan servicer is, there are ways you can switch. Your student loan servicer can switch out in its contract with the government, at the option of you, or through a special program if you’re under a deferred payment plan.
How to find your student loan servicer
The easiest way to figure out who your student loan servicer is to call them up. Talk to them, find out what the process of making a payment is, and make sure that it’s happening in a timely manner.
If you’re having a hard time making your payments, this is a good first step in figuring out who to talk to about it. But that’s only step one. The next step is finding out your repayment plan options. There are several different repayment options out there for your debt. Most options require you to work with one servicer.
But if you have one servicer and decide to try something else, you’ll have to go through all the steps again. If you find that you have multiple loans, it’s a good idea to choose the one with the lowest monthly payment.
What do student loan servicers do?
They set up and manage your student loans, handling paperwork like billing, collection of payments, and collection or modification of your loan if you apply. You have some say in what happens with your money, too.
You have the right to a dispute resolution hearing where you can request that your servicer lower your payments or make other changes. Advertisement What can I do if my loan servicer is not treating me fairly? There are a few options available to borrowers if their servicer isn’t treating them fairly.
If you find that your servicer is doing a bad job, you can speak to your servicer to request a review of your servicer. If this doesn’t work, you can file a complaint with the CFPB. How do I complain to the CFPB?
How often do student loan servicers collect payments?
Usually monthly (although a few loan servicers will make an exception for a grace period of 14 days, in which case, you need to make sure that you know what the timing is when you move to a new student loan servicer).
It’s probably not a good idea to pay more than your minimum payment on any loan you have, because that will send you into default quicker. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t pay a little bit more—if you make your payments on time and have good credit, then they’re a federal student loan servicer, you can likely make extra payments and your account will be grandfathered.
How many kinds of student loans do we have? There are federal loans and then there are private loans. In other words, there are federal PLUS loans and Federal Direct Loans.
How can we make sure student loan servicers are doing their job?
Ask these questions about your student loan servicer, and see if you can get a straight answer: Are they collecting enough of the payments that you’re supposed to make? Are they providing the correct amount of information? Are they telling you where to send your payments, and what you need to send them?
What should I do if I find that my student loan servicer isn’t doing its job? If you find that your student loan servicer isn’t doing what it’s supposed to be doing, you should file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau .
This may cost you a small fee, but it’s the right thing to do. The CFPB has made it clear that its main focus is to help consumers. The government and banks have a clear stake in the student loan servicing business because it impacts all of us.
Understanding your student loan repayment options and the ins and outs of making payments to these companies is one of the most important things you can do as a student or parent. The more money you put in, the less they can ask you for.
This is how student loan servicing works: it’s not just about you. It’s about you, the government and your loans. While the information is helpful, don’t rely solely on it.
Do your research and get as much information as possible before you start working with a servicer. You are your best source of information, so make sure that you are making informed decisions.