After four years (or more) of classes, late nights studying, and cramming for finals, the last thing you want to worry about is your student loans. However, your federal loan grace period will be over before you know it and you’ll have to start making payments.
Knowing who your loan servicer is and what kind of services it offers can help you manage your debt more effectively. And if you’re in a tight spot, your loan servicer can identify ways to make your payments more affordable while you get back on your feet.
If your federal loan servicer is EdFinancial Services, here’s how to use its online platform and find out about alternative repayment plans.
What is EdFinancial Services?
Loan servicers are an important part of managing your loans. Your loan servicer is not the lender; instead, the servicer is who you make payments to and who you go to with questions about your repayment plan or your account.
EdFinancial Services is one of nine companies that services federal student loans. You don’t get to choose EdFinancial Services or any other federal loan servicer. Instead, the Department of Education selects one for you.
Added to the list of designated federal loan servicers in 2012, EdFinancial Services manages student loans within the Direct Loan program, including:
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans
- Direct Subsidized Loans
- Direct PLUS Loans
- Direct Consolidation Loans
EdFinancial Services also manages loans through the Federal Family Education Loan program and some private loans.
Using the EdFinancial Services online platform
Most students manage their student loans serviced by EdFinancial Services online through the company website.
To sign up for an account, click on “Register” at the top right of the screen. The site will prompt you to enter your Social Security number, birthdate, and name before asking you to create a username and password.
By registering for an account, you can find out your loans’ balances and interest rates, receive bills, and make payments online. The site has additional resources for borrowers on their website, such as a blog with information about repayment options and loan forgiveness.
EdFinancial Services repayment options
If you’re ready to start making payments, EdFinancial Services allows you to do so in the following ways:
- Online: You can make one-time online payments once you register for an account.
- Automatic payments: Some borrowers might be able to get a 0.25 percent interest rate discount on their loans by signing up for automatic monthly payments.
- Phone: You can make payments over the phone by calling 1-855-337-6884.
- Mail: To mail payments for your Direct Loan, send a check to: U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 105193, Atlanta, GA 30348-5193.
Alternative payment plans for EdFinancial student loans
If you cannot afford your federal Direct Loan payments or are going through a financial hardship, EdFinancial Services might be able to help you with an alternative payment plan, such as:
- Income-driven repayment: Under an income-driven repayment plan, the government caps your monthly payment at a percentage of your discretionary income. Depending on your income and family size, your payment could dramatically decrease.
- Forbearance or deferment: If you’ve lost your job, are facing a medical emergency, or cannot afford your payments, you might be able to postpone making payments for up to 12 months without entering into default.
- Student loan forgiveness: If you’re a teacher or work for a qualifying nonprofit, you could be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Under this program, the government forgives your remaining loan balance after you make 10 years of qualifying payments.
- Discharge: In some cases, the government might discharge your loans if there are extenuating circumstances. For example, if you become disabled, you might be eligible for Total and Permanent Disability Discharge.
EdFinancial Services customer reviews
Federal loan servicers are under intense scrutiny due to concerns about how they handle borrower issues and payments.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported that it received 12,900 complaints about federal loan servicers in just one year. That’s a big deal, especially because you’re not able to choose a servicer or switch to a new federal servicer if you’re unhappy with the assistance you receive.
Further, there are 34 public complaints about EdFinancial Services student loans with the Better Business Bureau, as of January 2018. Most customer complaints concern problems with billing, such as the company reporting payments as late when they were on time or delays in receiving verification letters.
However, many issues are actually the result of errors on the borrowers’ end. For example, some of the complaints are about the loan balance being larger than they originally borrowed, with the borrower not realizing that interest accrued while the loan was in forbearance or deferment. Others complain about not receiving a bill, but they forgot to update their address with the servicer.
To protect yourself against similar problems, it’s important to ensure your account information is up to date with your latest mailing address and phone number. If you have to contact EdFinancial Services, record the date, time, and name of the representative you speak with to record any issues or problems and their resolutions.
Unhappy with your student loan servicer?
If you’re unhappy with EdFinancial Services or any other federal loan servicer, you can’t switch to a different servicer. However, you can opt for a private lender by refinancing your federal loans.
When you refinance, you take out a new loan with a private company and use it to pay off the old ones. The new loan will have different repayment terms, including interest rate and minimum monthly payment. You’ll have an entirely different loan servicer and customer service team.
Before refinancing your student loans, make sure you understand the pros and cons. You’ll lose out on some federal loan benefits, such as income-driven repayment plans, for example. But some people find it worthwhile to get a new servicer or lower interest rate.
If you’ve decided student loan refinancing is an interesting option for you, check out our list of the best refinancing lenders.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate 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 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” Rates listed include a 0.25% EFT discount, for automatic payments made from a checking or savings account. Interest rates as of 11/8/2018. Rates subject to change.
Variable rate options consist of a range from 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term, 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term, 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term, 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.98% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 2.35% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 2.40% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.65% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.90% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term would be from $180.89 to $193.75. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term would be from $139.65 to $146.76. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term would be from $104.56 to $111.98. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.77 to $86.78. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.05 to $75.68.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 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.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). 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 2.28% effective October 10, 2018.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.57% – 6.97%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.68% – 8.77%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.24% – 6.66%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.61% – 7.35%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.01% – 9.75%6||Undergrad & Graduate|