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, make sure you understand the benefits and drawbacks. You’ll lose out on federal loan benefits, such as income-driven repayment plans, for example. But some people find it worthwhile to get a new servicer.
If you’ve decided student loan refinancing is right for you, check out our list of the best lenders.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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