Just graduated from college? The summer probably seems like the perfect opportunity to relax and de-stress. After all, you spent four years (or more) working hard in school.
But if you have student loans, your grace period is only a few months long — and the time can fly by quickly. You’ll have to start making payments before you know it.
Understanding who manages your loans and how to make payments is critical to staying on track. There are currently nine federal loan servicers, including the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA).
If you have MOHELA student loans, here’s what you need to know to prepare for repayment.
MOHELA student loans
MOHELA has been around for over 30 years. The company has over 530 employees and is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. It also has offices in Columbia, Missouri, and Washington, D.C.
MOHELA services loans under the Direct Loan and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) programs. If MOHELA is your loan servicer, you’ll make payments directly to them. You can contact the MOHELA customer service team with questions or to discuss repayment options.
MOHELA allows you to make payments in several different ways:
- Sign up for automatic payments. Reduce the risk of missing payments by signing up for auto debit. As an added perk, you’ll receive a 0.25% interest rate reduction.
- Make payments by phone. You can make payments at any time, day or night, via MOHELA’s automated phone line at 1-888-866-4352.
- Mail a check or money order. Before sending a payment, contact customer service to find out where to send it. The mailing address varies depending on your account information.
- Make one-time payments at www.MOHELA.com. If you want to manually make payments — or make a lump-sum payment after a windfall — you can do so on their website.
It’s a good idea to set up your online account before your grace period ends. Registering for an account will allow you to see your loan balance and make payments electronically.
To start, go to www.MOHELA.com and click on the “Create Web Account” button. You will need your Social Security number and date of birth to open an account. The site will prompt you to enter your information and choose a username and password.
Once you create your account, you can log in at any time to make payments or check your loan balance.
Prefer to check your student loans on the go? MOHELA’s site is also mobile-friendly. You can make payments or download necessary forms via your smartphone.
How MOHELA applies payments
Your MOHELA student loans accrue interest based on your total balance and the amount of time between payments. When you make a payment, the loan servicer first applies the money toward any outstanding fees and then accrued interest. When you make a payment that’s large enough to cover fees and interest with money left over, the rest of your payment goes towards the principal.
For borrowers with multiple loans, MOHELA applies your payment proportionately across all loans, unless you provide other instructions. If you’d like to target a specific loan first, you can explain how you’d like payments applied online or by contacting customer service at the time of payment.
For those who want to pay their loans off as quickly as possible, you’ll have to provide instructions for that, too. The default setting for MOHELA loans is to advance your next payment due date. That means if you overpay, the amount due the next month will be less than your usual minimum.
If you want to make the extra payment without reducing your next bill, you can submit special payment instructions online or by calling customer service.
What to do if you can’t afford payments
If you’re struggling to keep up with your student loan payments, MOHELA offers several options to reduce or postpone your payments.
Your federal student loans serviced by MOHELA are likely eligible for income-driven repayment plans, which cap your payments at a small percentage of your discretionary income.
If you are dealing with a temporary financial hardship, such as an illness or unemployment, you might qualify for a deferment or forbearance. With these options, you can stop making payments for a set period without damaging your credit report.
Entering an income-driven repayment plan, forbearance, or deferment can extend the length of your repayment, causing you to pay more over time in interest. But if you’re having financial difficulties, they can be a smart solution to stay current on your loans and avoid student loan default.
MOHELA customer service
If you have questions or issues with your MOHELA student loans, you can call their customer service line at 1-888-866-4352 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. CST, Monday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. The phone line has an automated system, so you will need to know your loan account number or your Social Security number ahead of time.
If you contact customer service but are not satisfied with their response, you can escalate your problem to a MOHELA ombudsman by calling 1-866-820-8542 or submitting a formal request online. A student loan ombudsman is a neutral third-party who works with both you and your loan servicer to reach a resolution.
Once you submit a formal request, the ombudsman will research the issue and contact you for more information as needed.
Managing your loans
When it comes to managing your student loans, putting them off or ignoring them during your grace period is one of the worst things you can do.
By taking action now and coming up with a plan ahead of time, you can ensure you’re on track with your repayment.
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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.
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