MyFedLoan Review: Managing Your Student Loan Repayment

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When making your federal student loan payments, your loan servicer plays a vital role. You’ll work with this entity for 10 years or more as you make payments on your loan. You’ll also go to them with questions about your loan or to apply for alternative payment plans. One of the servicers with which you might work is MyFedLoan, or FedLoan Servicing.

To get an idea of who FedLoan Servicing is and what it offers, let’s look at the following:

FedLoan Servicing: the basics

FedLoan Servicing (the website is MyFedLoan.org) is a nonprofit organization run by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). Despite the association with the Pennsylvania-based agency, FedLoan Servicing handles loans nationally.

The federal government manages its student loans through a network of loan servicers. The system is set to change as the Department of Education rolls out its new NextGen platform. But for the time being, FedLoan Servicing is one of a limited number of servicers handling this debt.

That means that you might end up with FedLoan Servicing if you have one or more of the following loan types:

  • Direct subsidized loans: These are need-based loans available to undergrads. The government covers interest charges while you’re in school, during your grace period and during any periods of deferment.
  • Direct unsubsidized loans: Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for Direct unsubsidized loans, regardless of their financial need. You’ll pay interest while loans are deferred, including while you’re still in school.
  • Direct PLUS loans: Graduate students and parents can qualify for PLUS loans, but unlike with other Direct loan programs, you can’t have bad credit. Interest isn’t subsidized with these loans.
  • Direct consolidation loans: These loans allow you to combine all your federal loans into one loan with one servicer.

If you are not sure who your federal loan servicer is, you can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800-433-3243.

Managing your loans on the MyFedLoan.org platform

If FedLoan Servicing is your loan servicer, using the MyFedLoan.org platform is the easiest way to make payments, track your loan repayment progress, get information about forgiveness options and download the forms needed for deferment and forbearance, forgiveness and discharge, the TEACH grant and more.

To get started with the website, you first need to create an account. To do so, click on “sign in” at the top right, then click on “Create one now” below where it says “Don’t have an account?”

The platform will prompt you to enter your name, email address, date of birth and Social Security number or account number. Then, it will ask you to create a username and password and to set up identity verification questions. You must have a name that matches what they have on file for you as a borrower.

Once you have an account and sign in, you can use the platform to view your loan balance, payment due dates and interest rates.

More useful information and tools on MyFedLoan.org

Beyond information about your loans, the MyFedLoan portal also has several useful tools. For example, the site has a section dedicated to student loan basics, such as an overview of your repayment options, what to do if you fall behind on your payments, loan forgiveness and discharge and consolidation. The site even offers a glossary of financial aid terms and a collection of videos to help you manage the repayment process.

The site also features a resource center for borrowers who are still in school. “Student Loans 101” offers information on your responsibilities as a borrower and facts on student loans.

The “In Grace” section of the site offers information for students who are done with school and currently in the grace period. This section provides information on what happens during the grace period, how to prepare for making payments and how to understand the concept of interest. The section features a tool where you can review your loan information, and another where you can estimate your monthly bill.

There is also information on loan forgiveness and special programs for service members, as well as interest savings and grace period savings calculators. And you can find your tax information on the site as well, to view and print your IRS Form 1098-E (amount of interest paid), IRS Form 1099-C (cancellation of debt) if applicable and Tax Summary Statement.

How to make loan payments through MyFedLoan

You can make student loan payments in the following ways:

  • Direct debit: You can link a checking or savings account to your FedLoan Servicing account. The company will automatically withdraw your payment on the same day each month. As an added benefit, signing up for automatic payments can reduce your interest rate by 0.25%.
  • App: Use the app to send your payments or make extra payments on your loans. You can also use the app to view your balance and get other information on your loan.
  • Website: You can manually make one-time payments through the site.
  • Phone: FedLoan Servicing has an automated phone line you can call at any time to make payments. Dial 1-800-699-2908 and have your loan account number and bank account routing number ready.
  • Mail: If you prefer, you can mail a check or money order to the company. Mail your payments to: U.S. Department of Education, FedLoan Servicing, P.O. Box 790234, Louis, MO 63179-0234.
  • Third-party servicer: You may choose to use a third-party bill payment servicer or schedule payments through your bank. However, FedLoan Services notes on its website that they don’t have the ability to offer interest rate reductions or other incentives for auto payments set up by a third party, so the direct debit program may be a better choice.
  • Advance payments: You may set up advance payments up to 60 days in the future, for a maximum of eight advance payments per month. You can schedule these advance payments directly through the website.
  • Targeted payments: FedLoan Servicing allows you to target extra payment amounts to specific loans, as long as you pay the minimum amount due on each loan. Making extra payments on your loans may reduce the amount of interest you pay overall and could save you money over the long term.

Your repayment plan options

With federal loans, you have a number of repayment choices. Some last longer but offer lower payments, while others stick to the “standard” 10 years:

1. Standard repayment
2. Graduated repayment
3. Extended fixed repayment and extended graduated repayment
4. Income-sensitive repayment
5. Income-driven repayment plans

1. Standard repayment

The standard plan features a maximum repayment term of 10 years for unconsolidated loans, and up to 30 years for consolidated loans. The minimum monthly payment under this plan is $50.

2. Graduated repayment

This plan features monthly payments that initially are interest-only. Payments begin lower and increase every two years throughout a payment period with a maximum repayment term of 10 years.

3. Extended fixed repayment and extended graduated repayment

Both plans feature a maximum repayment term of up to 25 years, so there is a lower monthly payment than with the standard 10-year plan. You must have over $30,000 in outstanding Direct loans or Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL).

4. Income-sensitive repayment

This is only for payments related to the FFEL program. Monthly payments are based on your gross monthly income.

5. Income-driven repayment plans

If you can’t afford to pay the full amount due but can pay a portion of it, contact the company to apply for an income-driven repayment plan (IDR).

Under an IDR plan, the Department of Education caps your payments at a percentage of your discretionary income and extends your repayment term. Depending on your finances, your monthly payment could be much lower than it is today. You will pay more in interest over time, but an IDR plan can be helpful if you need relief right now.

The IDR plans available through FedLoan Servicing are Pay as You Earn, Revised Pay as You Earn, Income-Based Repayment and Income-Contingent Repayment.

More options for borrowers

Along with payment plans that can help borrowers who are having a hard time making payments, you can access these alternatives through FedLoan Servicing.

Remember that the last thing you want to do is miss payments and go into student loan default. Your loan will default when it’s over 270 days delinquent, and this can have a very negative effect on your credit rating and even ultimately lead to garnishment of your wages, withholding of your tax refunds and loss of eligibility for federal and state financial aid.

If you’re in a tough spot, here are some options you can investigate with MyFedLoan:

1. Deferment
2. Forbearance
3. Student loan forgiveness
4. Payment due date changes
5. Consolidation
6. Discharge

1. Deferment

If you can’t afford to make any payment toward your loan, you might qualify for a loan deferment. With a deferment, you can postpone making payments for up to 36 months. If you have subsidized loans, the government will cover the accrued interest while the loan is in deferment.

Under the “Manage Repayment” section of your account, you can take a quiz to see if you fit the eligibility requirements before applying online for a deferment.

2. Forbearance

Forbearances are similar to deferments in that you can postpone payments. However, you can only pause payments for up to 12 months at a time with a forbearance. Unlike deferments, you are responsible for all interest that accrues, regardless of your loan type. You can take a quiz on the site to give you a better idea of whether deferment or forbearance is right for you.

3. Student loan forgiveness

If you’re planning on pursuing Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), FedLoan Servicing is the only servicer that manages PSLF applications. In fact, if you have another servicer but are eligible for PSLF, the Department of Education will transfer your loans to FedLoan Servicing.

Through the online MyFedLoan platform, you can download and complete the Employment Certification Form (EFC). The EFC is a form you periodically submit as you work toward PSLF. The servicer reviews the form to ensure you’re eligible for PSLF.

FedLoan Servicing is also the only student loan servicer that manages the TEACH Grant, which provides grants of up to $4,000 per year for students planning to enter the education field.

4. Payment due date changes

You may choose to change your payment due date to a time when you know you’ll have more money in your bank account. You can set up this due date change through the website.

5. Consolidation

MyFedLoan notes that you may choose to consolidate your federal loans into one payment, which could lower your monthly output. You will apply for a consolidation loan directly through studentaid.gov.

6. Discharge

In some cases, you might be able to qualify for a discharge of your student loans. For example, if you suffer the misfortune of becoming permanently disabled and unable to work, you might at least be eligible for Total and Permanent Disability discharge. There are also discharges for students who were defrauded by their school, or whose schools have closed.

You can find out about various possible discharge options through our online guide, as well as through the loan forgiveness and discharge section of the MyFedLoan portal.

FedLoan Servicing lawsuits

FedLoan Servicing is a legitimate servicer approved by the Department of Education, but it does not have a perfect record.

In 2017, the attorney general of Massachusetts filed a lawsuit against FedLoan Servicing’s parent company, PHEAA. The suit accused the company of making errors while managing PSLF and raising borrowers’ repayment costs.

And in 2019, the New York attorney general charged that mishandling of Public Service Loan Forgiveness applications had led to a 99% rejection rate. Among the accusations is that the agency has miscounted eligible payments and given bad information to borrowers about how to attain loan forgiveness.

The lawsuits are ongoing, and not necessarily unusual; other student loan servicers including Navient and Great Lakes Educational Loan Services have been the subject of lawsuits as well.

Still, the suits are worth noting. If you have a problem with FedLoan Servicing or any other loan servicer, you should first try to resolve it directly with your servicer. If that does not work, you can file a complaint with the Department of Education.

What to do if you want a new servicer

Although you can’t switch federal loan servicers, there is another way to change servicers if you’re unhappy with the one you’ve been assigned.

To get a new servicer, you can refinance your student loans with a private company. Through refinancing, you take out a new loan from a bank or financial institution and use it to pay off your current student loans.

The new loan is managed by a separate company and might have a different repayment term, interest rate and minimum payment. You could use refinancing to save money over time or to reduce your monthly payment. However, it’s important to know that you will lose out on federal loan benefits if you refinance.

You also may be able to use federal loan consolidation to get a new loan servicer. While you don’t get to choose your student loan servicer when you first get your federal loan, you can do so with a consolidation loan.

Here’s more about what to do if you hate your federal student loan servicer.

How to contact FedLoan Servicing

You can contact FedLoan Servicing by phone at 800-699-2908, Monday through Friday at 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. EST. If you are calling internationally, contact them at 717-720-1885 during the same period. You can dial 711 for support for hearing- and speech-imparied callers.

In order to send an email, you must have an account and do so through a secure email program.

There are several mailing addresses:

For payments:

Department of Education
FedLoan Servicing
P.O. Box 790234
St. Louis, MO 63179-0234

Send completed Direct Debit application forms to:

FedLoan Servicing
P.O. Box 3661
Harrisburg, PA 17105-3661

Send letters and correspondence to:

FedLoan Servicing
P.O. Box 69184
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9184

For credit disputes:

FedLoan Servicing Credit
P.O. Box 60610
Harrisburg, PA 17106-0610

Send Consolidation related letters and correspondence to:

FedLoan Consolidation Department
P.O. Box 69186
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9186

Contact the Office of Consumer Advocacy at:

Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency
The Office of Consumer Advocacy
1200 North 7th Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102

Tackling your student loan debt with MyFedLoans

Managing your loans can be overwhelming, but understanding who your loan servicer is and what repayment options are available can help you through the process. The MyFedLoan.org platform has resources and information available that can empower you to handle your loans more effectively if they are your loan servicer.

By being aware of some of the issues facing the company, you can monitor your account and take action if needed.

Looking for more information on how to manage your student loan debt? Here’s our guide to paying off student loans faster.

Rebecca Stropoli contributed to this report.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
1.89% – 6.66%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

1.89% – 5.90%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.25% – 6.09%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.99% – 5.34%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

1.97% – 8.54%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

2.39% – 6.01%Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Elfi

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 October 1, 2020.


2 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.

  1. Checking your rate with Laurel Road only requires a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
  2. Savings vary based on rate and term of your existing and refinanced loan(s). Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Review your loan documentation for total cost of your refinanced loan.
  3. After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship. During any period of forbearance interest will continue to accrue. At the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized and be added to the remaining principle amount of the loan.
  4. Automatic Payment (“AutoPay”) Discount: if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically from a bank account, the interest rate will decrease by 0.25% and will increase back if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically from the borrower’s bank account. The 0.25% AutoPay discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal to help pay the loan down faster.

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 September 9, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
 


3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 2.99% APR to 6.09% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.09% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.25% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.18% plus 2.32% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. See eligibility details. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. 

4 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

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.


5 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

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 11/13/2020 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.97% to 8.54% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.95% to 8.77% Fixed APR with AutoPay.