When it comes to paying back your student loans, lenders will often use a third-party servicer to collect the payments.
One of the more popular servicers is Heartland Educational Computer Systems, Inc., commonly referred to as ECSI. If your lender uses ECSI, then you likely have some questions about their inner workings.
Since using an outsourced student loan servicer can be confusing, here’s everything you need to know about ECSI’s student loan services.
Who is ECSI?
ECSI doesn’t offer student loans. It manages the repayment process for colleges and universities, as well as lenders that offer private education loans. ECSI also provides flexible repayment terms for college graduates who have entered the workforce.
The company has been in business since 1972. It’s one of the largest servicers in the student loan industry. They partner with over 2,200 colleges and universities, handle 11 million payments daily, and collect over $100 million in payments annually.
The company services nearly any type of student loan, as well as provides customer service to borrowers.
What does ECSI do?
ECSI does not offer student loans; it strictly manages the collection and processing of the monthly payments.
Lenders will use servicers such as ECSI so they can focus their efforts on finding new borrowers. Using a third party servicer also helps lenders cut down on labor costs for tracking repayments. Colleges and universities function similarly, as they might not have the staff or capability to handle all of the repayments, and therefore hire outside help.
ECSI is also the customer service agent for the borrower. It will pull important tax documents if needed, keep you posted on the status of your account, and answer any other questions you may have regarding your loan.
ECSI can handle many types of student loans, including:
- Perkins loans
- Private student loans
- Institutional loans
- Primary care loans
- Health and nursing loans
- Virtual student loans
- New and refinanced student loans
You won’t be able to choose ECSI as your servicer; your lender will likely notify you if it works with ECSI once repayment begins.
How does ECSI help student loan borrowers?
ECSI makes paying back your loan as simple as possible. You can make payments several ways:
- Online payments. Three types of payments are accepted online, including direct payment (future or recurring ACH Payments), eCheck (single ACH payments drawn today), or credit card.
- Phone payments. ACH and credit card payment methods are both accepted via telephone.
- Snail mail. Borrowers can mail a check or money order to ECSI.
ECSI’s online capabilities help student loan borrowers have access to more efficient systems when it comes to paying tuition and loans. ECSI’s software handles electronic payments, e-signatures for master promissory notes, online entrance and exit interviews, a credit bureau reporting mechanism, and IRS 1098 processing.
How do you sign up for an ECSI online account?
Since the company works mainly with colleges and universities, those school’s financial websites often direct you to create an account with ECSI. Once you know your school or lender works with ECSI, you can follow a few simple steps to set up your online account.
1. Go to heartland.ecsi.net, click the “Sign In or Register” button. Next, click “Register” in the pop-up window.
2. Create your username and password.
3. Click “Continue.” Next, you will need to enter your personal information such as your name and date of birth.
4. You will then need to choose security questions and answers to protect your account when logging in later.
5. Click “Sign In and Accept.”
6. You can now use the username and password you created to log in. Click “Continue.”
7. You will need to answer one of the security questions you chose. This will only need to be done once unless you login in from a new device in the future. Click “Continue.”
8. Next, you will have to connect an account, which will require information including your ECSI key or your school code, account number, and ECSI PIN.
9. From the Your School Accounts screen, click the red plus sign located under “Connect An Account.”
10. Enter the ECSI login information you received from your lender.
- If you have your ECSI key, enter it on the left side under “Connect An Account.” Click “Connect.”
- If you have your ECSI PIN, enter it on the right side of the following box, along with the school’s code, and your social security number (U.S. citizens) or your Loan Account number (international borrowers). Your ECSI Key will be displayed and you’ll enter it on the left side of the following box. Click “Connect.
11. Your loan accounts should now be connected.
What are customers saying about ECSI student loans?
Borrowers give using ECSI mixed reviews, but they have an A- rating on the Better Business Bureau website.
Some customers say the customer service is awful, the website is hard to navigate, and ECSI charges fees for online payments. Others complain about missing payments while the site was under construction.
However, one Yelp reviewer — C.S. from Charlotte, North Carolina — had a better experience than others after their 40-minute phone call abruptly cut out just minutes before the end of business hours.
“I would have given them 1 star had I not spoken to Leander Johnson,” C.S. wrote. “I called back and manager Leander came to the phone and assisted me. He apologized for the customer service … Thank God some folks care.”
How do I contact ECSI about my student loan?
You can call ECSI Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. Speciality numbers are as follows:
- Loan Servicing: 888-549-3274
- Tuition Payment Plans: 866-927-1438
- Financial Aid Refunds: 855-250-3230
- Tax Documents: 866-428-1098
You can also live chat with a customer service representative Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST. They can chat with you about:
- Customer service and general questions
- Signing into your account
- Making a payment
- Deferment, forbearance, and cancellation forms
- Your student loans
- Your tuition payment plans
- Your financial aid refunds
- Your tax statements
If you have any questions about your student loans, take advantage of ECSI’s customer service. Make sure you have all the information you need to stay on top of your payments or even pay off your student loans ahead of schedule.
Rebecca Safier contributed to the reporting of this article.
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