You’ve graduated college and your grace period is coming to an end. You know the day you have to start making payments on your student loans is near — and now you’re stuck with some tough questions: How do I find my student loans? Where do I send my payments?
Student loan repayment can be confusing. You won’t necessarily pay the same entity that loaned you money, for example, since your lender and student loan servicer could be different. Here’s what you need to know:
What student loan servicers do
A student loan servicer is a company that manages student loans. Essentially, they are a third party that acts as a middleman between you and your lender. When you make a payment toward your student loan, it is managed by your loan servicer.
Student loan servicers work with borrowers to help manage their student loan repayment. If borrowers would like to change their repayment plan or apply for deferment or forbearance, they need to discuss their options with their loan servicer first.
Borrowers do not choose their loan servicer, but rather, are assigned one. If you have federal student loans, your loan servicer is assigned by the Department of Education. Below are the nine loan servicers that currently manage federal loans and their contact information.
My current student loan servicer is Nelnet, and I’m pleased with their service. However, my loan servicer has changed hands three times during the life of my loan, so being satisfied wasn’t always the case.
How do I find out who has my student loans? (Federal loans)
The process for finding your loan servicer will be different depending on whether you have federal or private student loans. If you have both, you will need to take the correct approach for each type.
If you have federal student loans:
- Start by going to the National Student Loan Data System
- Click on “Financial Aid Review”
- Accept the terms and conditions
- Log in with your FSA ID. If you don’t have one, you can easily create one.
- Once you log in, you’ll see a summary of all your loan data. This will include the types of student loans you have and the loan amounts, as well as outstanding balances and interest.
Each loan will have a number next to it which you can click on to expand its information and see the contact information for each lender at the bottom of the page.
How do I find out who has my student loans? (Private loans)
If you have private student loans, it could take a little more work to find your loan servicer. Start by looking at your credit reports. You can access your credit reports from the three main credit bureaus for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. You should also check your most recent student loan statement if you have it.
What to do after finding your loan servicer
Once you know who your loan servicer is, you can create an account on their site. In my experience, you’ll usually create a username and password and then share your relevant information like full name, address and Social Security number (for verification purposes). You’ll also likely be asked to create several security questions and answers for your account as well.
Once you are registered, you can connect your bank information and make payments directly from your bank account. You can send checks as well, but in my opinion, it’s much easier to do it online.
Typically, you can get a 0.25% interest rate deduction by signing up for automatic payments. If you’re not interested in autopay, find out if you can sign up for online alerts to be reminded when a payment is due.
Complaints about student loan servicers
It’s no secret many student loan borrowers have felt frustrated with their student loan servicers.
In 2018, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received a total of 10,400 complaints regarding student loans. Of those complaints, 65% were regarding issues with loan servicers and lenders. Many of these complaints involved concern about what information loan servicers provided, as well as issues regarding affordability.
Hopefully, as these comments continue to shed light on issues student loan borrowers face, we’ll start to see some change in the industry. For now, however, your student loan servicer is the liaison between borrower and lender, so if you have any issues, you need to go directly to them.
Knowing your student loan servicer is more than just knowing who to pay each month — it’s knowing where to turn to if you need to change your repayment term or apply for deferment or forbearance. If you’re unsure of who you loan servicer is, follow these steps to get clarification.
Dillon Thompson contributed to this report.
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 SoFi.
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 3.50% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.49% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% 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 April 17, 2019, 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 04/17/2019. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student 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.
3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed 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.
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.
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.
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 2.48% effective April 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.49% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 6.65%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.41%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.11%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.98% – 9.72%6||Undergrad & Graduate|