Your A to Z Guide to Federal Student Loan Companies and Servicers

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

student loan companies

When borrowing money from the federal government to pay for your undergraduate degree, graduate school, or professional program, the Department of Education doesn’t deal with you directly after you graduate and as you repay your loan. Instead, after your loan is paid out to your school, the Department of Education assigns you to a loan servicer.

Your loan servicer is responsible for collecting your loan payments and for working with you as you repay your loan. Unfortunately, not all loan servicers provide excellent customer service to borrowers, and problems can sometimes arise with servicers. It can also be confusing to determine who your loan servicers are, especially if you have multiple loans that are all serviced by different student loan companies.

This list of student loan servicers can help you determine who is responsible for servicing your student loans, so you’ll know who to reach out to about repayment issues and who to turn to for help when you have questions about your student loans.

Complete list of student loan servicers

The Department of Education works with only a limited number of student loan servicers. These student loan servicing companies are responsible for administering all of the loans issued through the Direct Loan Program and the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program. Here are the servicers that the Department of Education works with.

CornerStone

FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA)

Granite State (GSMR)

Great Lakes Educational Loan Services

HESC/EdFinancial

Mohela

Navient

Nelnet

Oklahoma Student Loan Authority (OSLA) Servicing

What do student loan servicers do?

Student loan servicers handle all of the many complex and varied administrative responsibilities associated with managing student loans. Some of the different student loan services that student loan companies offer to borrowers include the following:

  • Collecting loan payments from borrowers
  • Processing changes in name, address, and contact information
  • Setting up automatic payments
  • Enrolling eligible borrowers in income-driven or other flexible repayment plans
  • Providing help to students who cannot afford to make loan payments
  • Providing borrowers with educational resources to better understand loans
  • 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

You do not get to choose your student loan servicing company, so, unfortunately, there’s no opportunity to shop around for the best student loan companies to service your federal loans. You’re stuck with the servicer assigned to you.

If you have multiple loans, it is also possible your loans will be assigned to multiple 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 a different student loan servicer. 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.

How to determine who your loan servicer is?

If you have federal student loans and you aren’t sure who your loan servicer is, there’s a tool that can help you find out. To find the student loan servicing companies servicing your loans, visit the National Student Loan Data System and click on “Select Financial Aid Review.”

student loan servicing companies

Image source: National Student Loan Data System

You’ll be asked to accept the terms and conditions and to enter your Federal Student Aid (FSA) login information. If you don’t already have an FSA login, you can create one by selecting the “Create an FSA ID” from the tabs along the top of the screen.

list of student loan servicers

Image source: National Student Loan Data System

After logging in, you’ll see a complete summary of all of your student loans, the amounts you owe, and details about the loan servicer, including the servicer’s contact information. You can find out more in this guide to finding your student loan servicer about the specific process of discovering who the servicer is for all of your student loans.

What to expect if your student loan servicer changes

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 do not 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 might need to update the contact information to the new servicer so your financial institution knows where to send the payment.

Working with student loan companies

Between September 1, 2016, and August 31, 2017, complaints were made to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about more than 250 companies in the student loan business, including complaints about many student loan servicers. Borrowers raised complaints to the CFPB about:

  • Problems accessing protections for federal student loan borrowers, including difficulty getting help with loan discharge after severe disability.
  • Student loan servicers putting obstacles in the way of the borrower’s ability to take advantage of income-driven repayment programs.
  • Loans being improperly placed into forbearance.

Some companies, including Navient and AES/PHEAA, were the subject of many more complaints than other student loan servicing companies, as this chart from the CFPB shows.

list of student loan servicers

Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

A group of students is suing their student loan servicers for allegedly providing false information about whether the students were able to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Because it’s common to have problems with student loan servicers, it’s important to try to do your own research into what your rights are as a borrower, rather than solely relying on your servicer for that information. Since you don’t have a choice about 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 should also 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.

If you hate your student loan servicer, you can also consider options such as 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.

If you decide to refinance, 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 to the best banks to refinance student loans as a good starting point to find a student loan servicer who will hopefully treat you right.

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.