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Student Loan Servicers: Who They Are and What to Know
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Working with a student loan servicer can have its pros and cons, and some servicers have had more public challenges or complaints made against them than others.
You typically cannot choose your student loan servicer when you take out federal student loans, but you may be able to do so in other cases, such as if you refinance your loan.
Let’s take a look at the federal student loan servicers and what you need to know about them, specifically:
Before we get into the current list of student loan servicers, it’s important to discuss the NextGen platform, which will change the way borrowers manage their student loan payments. The developing NextGen student loan services platform from StudentAid.gov is promising to ultimately move repayment to one place for all student loan borrowers. This means that the borrower-student loan servicer relationship may change significantly.
To that end, the U.S. Department of Education announced in June 2020 that it signed contracts with five federal student loan servicers who will help to bring the NextGen platform to life. These servicers are F.H. Cann & Associates, Maximus Federal and Trellis Company, as well as MOHELA and EdFinancial Services, two servicers already on the cabinet department’s list.
However, this list of servicers isn’t going into immediate effect. It was also announced that all current servicers have had their contracts extended through 2021 or 2022. Nelnet and its subsidiary Great Lakes, part of the current list, have announced that their contract will not be in effect for the long term. But as things stand, there should not yet be any noticeable changes for students.
While NextGen plans are still rolling out, the Department of Education continues to work with nine current servicers, as well as a Default Resolution Group for students whose loans have gone into default. (CornerStone, once a federal loan servicer, terminated its government contract in October 2020, so if you worked with them in the past, skip down to learn about how to find your servicer.)
These remaining student loan servicing companies are responsible for administering all loans issued through the direct loan program and the Federal Family Education Loan Program (which no longer provides new loans).
Below you’ll find a list of federal student loan servicers, some basic information for all of them and a link to LendingTree’s comprehensive review for each.
- PHEAA website
- Telephone number: 800-699-2908 (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. EST)
- International number: 717-720-1985
- Hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired: Dial 711
- Email: You can send a secure email through their website
- Payment address: Department of Education, FedLoan Servicing, P.O. Box 790234, St. Louis, MO, 63179-0324
- FedLoan Servicing review
- GSMR website
- Telephone number: GSMR has several different phone numbers based on your account number. Check here to find the number that works with your account.
- Payment address: Department of Education, P.O. Box 4414, Portland, OR 97208-4414
- Great Lakes Educational Loan Services website
- Telephone number: 800-236-4300 (Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. CST)
- Email: You can send an email directly through the website
- General correspondence address:O. Box 7860, Madison, WI, 53707-7860
- Payment contact information depends on your specific situation, which you can explore further by logging in. StudentAid.gov notes on its website that it is accepting payments for Great Lakes and its parent company, Nelnet, although you can also still make payments directly to the servicers.
- Great Lakes review
- Nelnet website
- Telephone number: 888-486-4722 (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. EST)
- International number: 303-696-3625
- General correspondence address: Nelnet, P.O. Box 82561, Lincoln, NE 68501-2561
- Payment routing information differs depending on your account; check here to see where you should mail a payment. As noted above, StudentAid.gov is accepting payments for both Nelnet and Great Lakes, although you can also still make payments directly to the servicers.
- HESC/EdFinancial website
- Telephone number: 855-337-6884
- Direct loan payment address:U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 4830, Portland, OR, 97208-4830
- HESC/EdFinancial review
- MOHELA website
- Telephone number: 888-866-4352 (Monday through Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. CST; Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST)
- Address for assistance requests: 633 Spirit Drive, Chesterfield, MO 63005-1243
- Log in or call for your payment address, which will differ based on your account information.
- MOHELA review
- Naviant website
- Telephone number: 800-722-1300 (Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. EST; Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST)
- Payment address: Navient – U.S. Department of Education Loan Servicing, P.O. Box 4450, Portland, OR, 97208-4450
- Email: You can contact Navient through email by logging in and accessing the “email us” feature
- Navient review
- Oklahoma Student Loan Authority website
- According to OSLA’s website, their contact information is available only after logging in, and depending on the type of account you have. Go here for more information.
- Telephone: The Department of Education lists a general number of 866-264-9762.
- OSLA review
- ECSI website
- Telephone: 866-313-3797
- Payment address: Department of Education, ECSI Federal Perkins Loan Servicer, P.O. Box 6200-31, Portland, OR 97228-6200
- ECSI review
|Yes, there are private student loan servicers, too|
If you borrowed private student loans (in addition to or instead of federal loans), you also have private student loan servicers. Like federal loan servicers, these are companies contracted by your lender to manage the repayment of your debt.
Some of these private loan servicers might sound familiar, as they double as federal loan servicers in some cases. MOHELA, for example, facilitates repayment for SoFi customers.
You can typically find information about your private student loan servicer via your lender’s website, or you can ask your lender’s customer service for confirmation.
Student loan servicers handle all of the many complex and varied administrative responsibilities associated with managing student loans. The services that student loan companies offer to borrowers include:
- Collecting loan payments
- Processing changes of names, addresses and contact information
- Setting up automatic payments
- Enrolling eligible borrowers in income-driven or other flexible repayment plans
- Providing other assistance to students who cannot afford to make loan payments, such as through forbearance and deferment
- Providing borrowers with educational resources to better understand their loans and repayment options
- Providing student loan forgiveness options (FedLoan Servicing is the servicer dedicated to forgiveness programs)
- Answering questions about student loan bills
- Providing customer service support to borrowers
- Issuing the Form 1098-E tax form that you need to deduct student loan interest from your taxes
If you have multiple loans, they may be assigned to different servicers. This means dealing with two (or more) different companies when setting up repayment plans or trying to take advantage of programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
In some cases, the Department of Education might also transfer your student loan from one loan servicing company to another one. You’ll still owe the Department of Education the same amount of money as you did before the transfer of the loan, but a different servicer will be responsible for helping to facilitate your loan repayment process.
You can find all your federal loan information on StudentAid.gov, the comprehensive website for all student loan borrowers. You won’t have any kind of history until your loans have been dispersed to you.
You can find the list of all federal student loan servicers here, along with their contact information. You can also call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800-433-3243.
If the Department of Education transfers your loan to a new servicer, the assigned servicer who’s taking over the administration of your loan will typically notify you of the change via mail or letter.
Once your student loans are added to the system of the new servicer, you’ll then receive a full welcome packet that includes information about the transition to the new servicer and details about any steps you need to take, such as signing up for an online account with the new servicer.
Your loan terms don’t change when you move to a different student loan servicer. The new servicer receives all of your information from the previous servicer, including up-to-date payment information about your student loans.
Once you’re notified that your loan servicer is officially changed, you’ll need to begin sending your payments to the new servicer. If you have autopay set up through a bank or bill-paying service for your existing loan, you should update the contact information to the new servicer so your financial institution knows where to send the payment.
Student loan servicers are there to help borrowers, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. The latest Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report from October 2020 logged around 7,000 federal and private student loan complaints overall, and noted the lenders that received the most criticism.
As an example, Navient drew 31% of all federal loan complaints, and 41% of private loan complaints. In March 2020, Navient also settled a lawsuit brought by teachers charging that the servicer didn’t adequately explain forgiveness program options. FedLoan Servicing has also been the subject of lawsuits, with charges that included the miscounting of eligible payments and giving bad information about how to obtain forgiveness.
Because you generally don’t have a choice of who your loan servicer is, understanding your rights as a consumer and carefully documenting information provided by your servicer can help you ensure you’re treated as fairly as possible as you pay back your student loans.
You can speak up as a consumer and make a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau if you believe your servicer is mistreating you or engaging in unethical business practices, although you should try first to handle the issue directly with the servicer.
As noted, your servicer is assigned to you, and you don’t have much choice in the matter. However, you have a couple of options for switching loan servicers.
For one, you can consider refinancing your loans. While refinancing isn’t right for everyone, it’s one of the few ways you can end a relationship with a student loan servicer who’s making your repayment process more difficult than it needs to be.
If you have several loans, you also might choose to apply for a consolidation loan on StudentAid.gov. When you consolidate, you may also choose your loan servicer. If these routes sound appealing to you, compare refinancing and consolidation before proceeding.