Note that the situation for student loans has changed due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and relief efforts from the government, student loan lenders and others. Check out our Student Loan Hero Coronavirus Information Center for additional news and details.
* * *
Working with student loan servicers can have its pros and cons, and some servicers have had more public challenges or complaints made against them than others. There’s not really such a thing as the “best federal student loan servicer,” but there may be some you’d prefer to work with over others.
You typically cannot choose your servicer when you take out federal student loans, but you may 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:
- Latest news: the NextGen platform
- List of current student loan servicers
- What student loan servicers do
- How to find your student loan servicer
- What to expect if your student loan servicer changes
- What to do if you have a problem with your student loan servicer
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.
However, this list of servicers is not going into immediate effect, and Federal Student Aid’s chief operating officer, Mark Brown, has stated that student borrowers will not see a change in servicers before 2021.
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.
According to Brown in a blog post: “When the time comes to transition your account into the NextGen environment, you’ll receive emails, messaging on social media and a wide array of other communications about what to expect and how to continue to manage your account.”
While NextGen plans are still rolling out, the Department of Education continues to work with its 10 current servicers, as well as a Default Resolution Group for students whose loans have gone into default. These 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 Student Loan Hero’s comprehensive review for each.
- FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA)
- Granite State (GSMR)
- Great Lakes Educational Loan Services
- Oklahoma Student Loan Authority (OSLA) Servicing
- CornerStone website
- Telephone number: 800-663-1662, Monday through Thursday, 6:00 a.m. to 7 p.m. MST, Friday 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. MST.
- Servicemember number: 844-255-8326
- Email addresses: General questions: [email protected], Servicemember email: [email protected]
- Payment address: U.S. Department of Education, CornerStone, P.O. Box 979133 St. Louis, MO 63197-9000
- Live chat is also available
- Click here to read our full CornerStone review
- 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
- Click here to read our FedLoanServicing 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: P.O. Box 3420, Concord, NH 03302-3420
- Click here to read our review of GSMR
- Great Lakes Educational Loan Services website
- Telephone number: 800-236-4300, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. CST
- Email: You can send an email directly through the website
- General correspondence address: P.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.
- Click here to read our review of Great Lakes Educational Loan Services.
- 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.
- Click here to read our Nelnet review.
- 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
- Click here to read more about HESC/EdFinancial
- 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 upon your account information.
- Click here for more information on Mohela.
- 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
- Click here to read a comprehensive profile of Navient
- 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.
- The Department of Education does list a general number at: 866-264-9762.
- Click here to find out more about OSLA.
- Customer service phone number: 866-313-3797
- Payment address: Department of Education, ECSI Federal Perkins Loan Servicer, P.O. Box 6200-31, Portland, OR 97228-6200
- Click here to read more about ECSI
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 in name, address 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 a 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 different companies, or more, 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 will 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. The site displays information from the National Student Loan Data System, a database that has information on federal aid for students and parents across the U.S. 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 (also detailed in the article above), along with their contact information. You can also call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.
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 are perfect. The latest Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report from October 2019 logged around 25,000 federal and private student loan complaints overall, and noted the most-criticized lenders. From 2018 to 2019, 71% of complaints were about dealing with a lender or servicer.
Of all the servicers, Navient and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (which operates FedLoan Servicing) received the most complaints. Navient led in debt-collection-related complaints for both federal and private loans, and in March 2020, it 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 including 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.
How to switch your student loan servicer
As noted, your servicer is assigned to you, and you don’t have much choice in the matter. However, if you hate your student loan servicer, you have a couple of options for switching. 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.
Research any student loan companies you are considering to make sure they have a good reputation and won’t cause you more hassle as they administer your loan during repayment. You can check our guide on where to refinance student loans as a good starting point to find a student loan lender who will hopefully treat you better than the federal servicer you had trouble with.
Understand that if you do refinance, you’ll be working with a private lender, which means you’ll give up some of the privileges attached to having student loans, such as forgiveness programs, income-driven repayment plans and easier deferment or forbearance options.
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. Readers thinking about going this route can check out our post on how to ditch your student loan servicer.
Rebecca Stropoli contributed to this report
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 9 lenders of 2021!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.89% – 6.15%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 5.64%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 6.84%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.91% – 5.25%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.53%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.15% – 4.42%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|2.00% – 5.63%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 May 1, 2021.
2 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 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.49% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.34% 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 October 26, 2020, 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 10/26/2020. 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 protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2020 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.
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 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 02/17/2021 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.91% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.95% APR – 7.63% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
6 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 2.15%-4.42% 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.
7 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 January 4, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
8 Important Disclosures for Nelnet.
Checking your rate results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score.
Interest rate reduction of .25% for automatically withdrawn payments from any designated bank account (“auto debit discount”). Auto debit discount applies when full payments (including both principal and interest) are automatically drafted from a bank account. The auto debit discount will continue to apply during periods of approved forbearance or deferment if the auto debit discount was in effect at the time of receiving the forbearance or deferment. Auto debit discount will remain on the account unless (1) the automatic deduction of payments is canceled or (2) there are three consecutive automatic deductions returned for insufficient funds at any time during the term of the loan.
Request for the cosigner to be released can be made by the borrower after 24 consecutive, on-time payments (not later than 15 days after the due date) of principal and interest have been made. Borrowers in deferment or forbearance must make 24 consecutive, on-time payments after re-entering repayment to qualify for the release. The borrower must be current on their payments at the time of the cosigner release request and show the ability to assume full responsibility of the loan(s) by meeting certain credit criteria on their own at the time of the request, including, but not limited to, being a U.S. citizen or having permanent residency in the United States, being the age of majority in their permanent state of residency, providing sufficient proof of income, and having no student loans in default.
Hardship forbearance allows you to temporarily suspend payments on your loan(s) while you are experiencing financial hardship. It is offered in increments of two or three months, with a maximum of 12 months available, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. If your loan(s) are in good standing at the time of your request, you will be eligible for forbearance in increments of two monthly payments. If, at the time of your initial request, your loan(s) are considered past-due, you will be eligible for forbearance in increments of three monthly payments. Future increments of forbearance, up to a life-time maximum of 12 months, may be requested upon the completion of making a certain number of principal and interest payments. During the two- or three-month forbearance period, you will not be required to make payments; however, any unpaid interest will continue to accrue and will be capitalized (added) onto your principal balance at the end of the forbearance period. You may continue making payments in any amount without penalty during the forbearance period. Your loan repayment term will be extended by the number of months in the forbearance period.
Refinance Loan Eligibility: You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number, and be the legal age to enter into binding contracts in your permanent state/territory of residency, or be at least 17 years of age and apply with a cosigner who is at least the age of majority in their state/territory. Non-residents can apply with an eligible cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number. The student loans you refinance must be in their grace or repayment period, and you can no longer be enrolled in school on a half-time or more basis. You must have at least $5,000 in student loans to refinance. You, or your eligible cosigner, must have an annual income of at least $36,000. Approval subject to credit review. Other credit criteria may apply.
Refinance Loan Limits:
Loan Refinancing Risks: Federal student loans include benefits that may not be offered with private student loans. Carefully review any potential benefits that may be lost by refinancing federal and private education loans, such as the loss of any remaining grace periods. To learn more about what to take into consideration when refinancing federal student loans with private education loans, click here
Selecting ‘Get Started’ results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score.
Fixed interest rates range from 2.99% APR (with auto debit discount) to 6.25% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. The fixed interest rate will remain the same for the life of the loan.
Variable interest rates range from 2.00% APR (with auto debit discount) to 5.63% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. Variable rates may increase after consummation. The variable interest rate is equal to the One-Month London Interbank Offered Rate (“One-Month LIBOR”) plus a margin. The One-Month LIBOR in effect for each monthly period (from the first day of the month through and including the last day of the same month) will be the highest One-Month LIBOR published in The Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table on the twenty-fifth (25th) day (or if such day is not a business day, the next business day thereafter) of the month immediately preceding such calendar month. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for a variable interest rate loan will change monthly on the first day of each month if the One-Month LIBOR index changes. This may result in higher monthly payments. The current One-Month LIBOR index is 0.15% as of 5/4/2021.
The lowest interest rate for each loan type requires automatically withdrawn (“auto debit”) payments, a five-year repayment term, and the borrower making immediate principal and interest payments. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rate. The interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) may be higher depending upon (1) the credit history of the borrower and, if applicable, the cosigner, (2) the repayment option and loan term selected, (3) the loan type selected, and (4) the highest level of education attained. If approved, applicants will be notified of the rate qualified for within the stated range.
*Checking your rate results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score. **Your actual savings may vary based on interest rates, outstanding balances, remaining repayment terms, and other factors.