Update: CornerStone Education Loan Services, a subsidiary of the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority, has announced it terminated its federal loan servicing contract on Oct. 21, 2020. CornerStone was previously signed to service federal student loans through 2022, as the Department of Education has started welcoming new federal loan servicers into the fold.
If you’re among the approximately 1 million borrowers with CornerStone loans, your debt will be transferred to another servicer in the coming months, according to reports. Forbes reported that CornerStone loans would end up with FedLoan Servicing, a servicer whose own government contract expires in December 2021.
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CornerStone Education Loan Services — commonly referred to as CornerStone student loans — is a federal loan servicer. The company might be who you end up with when you take out federal student loans. If you have CornerStone education loans, here’s what you need to know to take advantage of all the company has to offer.
- CornerStone student loans: the basics
- What we like about CornerStone student loans
- What to keep in mind about CornerStone student loans
- Are CornerStone student loans right for you?
When it comes to federal student loans, you don’t get to choose your loan servicer. Instead, the U.S. Department of Education appoints one to you after you receive your loan.
CornerStone is one of 10 federal loan servicers. It’s a nonprofit organization run by the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA) and is headquartered in Salt Lake City. Despite the name, the company services federal loans nationwide, not just the loans of Utah residents.
If CornerStone is your loan servicer, you will receive a letter from it once your loan is disbursed. CornerStone only works with federal student loans, not private student loans. That means you might end up with it if you have any of the following loans:
- Direct Subsidized Loans
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans
- Direct PLUS Loans
- Direct Consolidation Loans
- Perkins Loans
If you’re unsure whether you have CornerStone student loans, log into the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Office website.
If you’re struggling with your student loans, CornerStone Education Loan Services might be able to help in the following ways.
1. Alternative payment plans
Making your payments on time and in full each month can be difficult when you have a small salary. If you’re in danger of falling behind, input your CornerStone loan login or contact its customer support right away.
If you can afford to put some money toward your loans each month — but not the full payment that’s due — you might be able to work out an alternative payment option. Depending on your situation, you might qualify for an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan.
With an IDR plan, the loan servicer caps your monthly payments at a percentage of your discretionary income and extends your repayment term. You’ll pay more in interest over time, but an IDR plan can dramatically reduce your payments to give you more breathing room in your budget.
You can apply for an IDR plan via the FSA website.
2. Deferment or forbearance
If you can’t afford to make any payment at all, you might qualify for a loan deferment. During a deferment, you can pause payments on your debt for up to 36 months.
If you have subsidized loans, the government will cover the interest that accrues on your debt. You might be eligible for a deferment if you’re unemployed, have a financial hardship or are currently enrolled in school.
Entering forbearance is similar to deferment. It allows you to postpone payments on your loans for up to 12 months at a time. Unlike deferment, you’re responsible for paying the interest that accrues on your debt, regardless of the type of loan you have.
3. Forgiveness and discharge
If you’re eligible for federal forgiveness or discharge programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness, closed school discharge or total and permanent disability discharge, you can download the necessary forms on your servicer’s website without having to enter your CornerStone loan login.
If you have CornerStone education loans, the following benefits can help you manage them.
Automatic payment discount
Keeping up with your payments is important to ensure you stay on track to pay off your debt and to protect your credit. To avoid late fees and other issues, you can set up automatic payments on your account. You won’t have to worry about manually making payments each month, and you’ll receive a 0.25% interest rate reduction.
Change your due date
If your debt is current (not delinquent), you can request to change your payment due date by entering your CornerStone loan login or calling its phone line. You might prefer pushing back your due date until a paycheck comes through, for example, or align it with your other monthly bills’ due dates.
In-person customer service
If you have CornerStone student loans, the company is one of the few loan servicers that offer in-person help. You can walk into their headquarters Monday through Friday during normal business hours to discuss your loans and any questions you might have. The building’s address is:
Board of Regents Building, Two Gateway
60 South 400 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84101-1284
If you aren’t close to Salt Lake City, the CornerStone call center is open Monday through Friday but is unavailable on weekends. You can speak to a representative by calling 800-663-1662.
Federal loan servicers have long been a target of borrower frustration, with some even facing lawsuits. While CornerStone student loans shouldn’t be lumped in with more infamous servicers, it’s not the perfect repayment partner for every borrower.
Not all customers satisfied
Just as with other federal loan servicers, CornerStone has seen its share of customer service complaints. A quick look at customer reviews for CornerStone/UHEAA show a mixed bag, with some borrowers upset over the information or service provided, while others are quite satisfied.
That said, CornerStone did manage to avoid ending up on the list of five servicers with the most complaints, as reported in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s October 2019 report.
NextGen might soon replace Cornerstone services
CornerStone Loans allows customers to make payments on its website, over the phone or by snail-mailing a paper check or money order.
Soon, however, submitting payments and other services will likely be done through the FSA’s NextGen platform. The Department of Education has started to renovate its FSA website to become a one-stop-shop for borrowers who have multiple loan servicers. By February 2020, Great Lakes and Nelnet borrowers were able to make payments in one place, with other servicers like CornerStone due to follow suit. In the future, you might not need to remember your CornerStone loan login at all.
As a student loan borrower, you probably don’t have a very positive opinion of your student loan servicer. After all, you fork over hundreds of dollars each month — of course you’re not crazy about them.
But your loan servicer plays an important role in managing your student loans. It manages your payments, processes your paperwork and can even helps you if you can’t afford your payments.
If you have CornerStone student loans, it’s wise to check out the company’s website and see all the resources it has available. From financial literacy primers to alternative payment plans, CornerStone education information and tools give you the ability to take charge of your loans and become debt-free.
Unhappy with your loan servicer? Find out what you can do to get a new servicer.
Andrew Pentis contributed to this report.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 9 lenders of 2021!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.88% – 6.15%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.88% – 5.64%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.85%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 6.59%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.88% – 5.64%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.90% – 5.25%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|2.13% – 5.25%8||Undergrad & Graduate|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of June 1, 2021.
2 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.
Interest Rate Disclosure
Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 2.48% APR to 5.79% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 1.88% APR to 5.64% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 36% (the maximum allowable for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 2.04% and 5.8% to the one month LIBOR. Earnest rate ranges are current as of 6/8/2021, and are subject to change based on market conditions.
Auto Pay Discount Disclosure
You can take advantage of the Auto Pay interest rate reduction by setting up and maintaining active and automatic ACH withdrawal of your loan payment. The interest rate reduction for Auto Pay will be available only while your loan is enrolled in Auto Pay. Interest rate incentives for utilizing Auto Pay may not be combined with certain private student loan repayment programs that also offer an interest rate reduction. For multi-party loans, only one party may enroll in Auto Pay.
Student Loan Refinancing Loan Cost Examples
These examples provide estimates based on payments beginning immediately upon loan disbursement. Variable APR: A $10,000 loan with a 20-year term (240 monthly payments of $72) and a 5.89% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $17,042.39. For a variable loan, after your starting rate is set, your rate will then vary with the market. Fixed APR: A $10,000 loan with a 20-year term (240 monthly payments of $72) and a 6.04% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $17,249.77. Your actual repayment terms may vary.Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest. com/terms-of-service, e-mail us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
Earnest Loans are made by Earnest Operations LLC or One American Bank, Member FDIC. Earnest Operations LLC, NMLS #1204917. 535 Mission St., Suite 1663, San Francisco, CA 94105. California Financing Law License 6054788. Visit earnest.com/licenses for a full list of licensed states. For California residents (Student Loan Refinance Only): Loans will be arranged or made pursuant to a California Financing Law License.
One American Bank, 515 S. Minnesota Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104. Earnest loans are serviced by Earnest Operations LLC with support from Navient Solutions LLC (NMLS #212430). One American Bank and Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
© 2021 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved.
3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.15% effective Jan 1, 2021 and may increase after consummation.
4 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of April 29, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
Fixed rates from 2.49% APR to 6.94% APR (with autopay). Variable rates from 1.99% APR to 6.59% APR (with autopay). All variable rates are based on the 1-month LIBOR and may increase after consummation if LIBOR increases; see more at SoFi.com/legal/#1. If approved for a loan your rate will depend on a variety of factors such as your credit profile, your application and your selected loan terms. Your rate will be within the ranges of rates listed above. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers, or may become available, such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license #6054612; NMLS #1121636 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org). Additional terms and conditions apply; see SoFi.com/eligibility for details. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
6 Important Disclosures for Navient.
7 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of 5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.
As of 04/07/2021 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.49% APR – 7.75% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
8 Important Disclosures for PenFed.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed Rates range from 2.89%-4.78% APR and Variable Rates range from 2.13%-5.25% APR. Both Fixed and Variable Rates will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. For Variable Rate student loans, the rate will never exceed 9.00% for 5 year and 8 year loans and 10.00% for 12 and 15 years loans (the maximum allowable for this loan). Minimum variable rate will be 2.00%. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.