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 — but where do you send that check?
Student loan repayment can be confusing; who you pay isn’t necessarily the same entity that loaned you money. Your lender and student loan servicer are not necessarily the same.
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 middle man 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 U.S. Department of Education. Below are the various loan servicers that 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 that wasn’t always the case.
Who Is My Loan Servicer? Here’s How to Find Out
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 two different approaches.
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, loan amounts, as well as outstanding balances and interest. You’ll see something like this:
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 (access your credit reports for free at annualcreditreport.com ) or your most recent student loan statement. Common private student loan servicers include Sallie Mae and its spin-off company, Navient.
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 create a username and password and share your relevant information like full name, address, and social security number (for verification purposes).You’ll 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 auto pay, 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. Recently, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched a public inquiry to hear from borrowers about their experiences with student loan servicers.
The response was more than 30,000 comments, many of which called for stronger standards to protect student loan borrowers during repayment, and included complaints about customer service and payment processing.
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, 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.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
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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 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% 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
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.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.57% – 6.98%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.80% – 6.22%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.57% – 8.17%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|