After throwing your mortar board in the air at graduation, the last thing you want to think about is your student loan servicer. The company that takes hundreds of dollars from your bank account each month doesn’t exactly elicit warm, fuzzy feelings.
However, your federal loan servicer is seriously important. You’ll work with them for 10 years or more as you make payments on your loan. Plus, they’re who you go to with questions or to apply for alternative payment plans.
If you took out federal loans, you could end up with FedLoan Servicing as your servicer. If you manage your student loans through the company, here’s how to use its MyFedLoan online platform, take full advantage of the site’s features, and handle issues with the company.
MyFedLoan student loans
FedLoan Servicing is a nonprofit organization run by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). PHEAA’s name can be misleading because FedLoan Servicing handles loans nationally.
Under the current structure, there are nine federal loan servicers. You don’t get to choose one from the list or switch servicers. Instead, the government appoints one to you when you take out student loans.
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) selected MyFedLoan to service federal student loans within the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program. That means that you might end up with FedLoan Servicing if you have one or more of the following student loans:
- Direct Subsidized Loans: For undergraduate and graduate students with financial need
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans: For undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of financial need
- Direct PLUS Loans: For graduate students or parents of students
- Direct Consolidation Loans: For those who consolidated their federal loans
Using the FedLoan Servicing platform to manage your loans
If FedLoan Servicing is your loan servicer, using the MyFedLoan online platform is the easiest way to make payments, track your loan repayment progress, get information about forgiveness options, and download the forms needed for the student loan interest tax deduction.
If you like to use your phone to handle your finances, FedLoan Servicing also offers an app for both Android and iOS phones.
To get started with either the full website or the app, you first need to create an account. To do so, click on “sign in” at the top right, then choose “Create account now.”
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.
Once you have an account and sign in, you can use the platform to view your loan balance, payment due dates, and interest rates.
Beyond information about your loans, the MyFedLoan portal also has other useful tools. 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, and special programs for teachers or military service members.
MyFedLoan repayment options
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 percent.
- App: Use the app to send your payments or make extra payments on your loans.
- 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. However, the FedLoan Servicing address for payments is different than the address you use for other tasks, such as submitting forms. Mail your payments to: U.S. Department of Education, FedLoan Servicing, P.O. Box 530210, Atlanta, GA 30353-0210.
If you’re struggling to afford your payments, FedLoan Servicing might be able to help you with the following repayment options:
1. Alternative FedLoan payment 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 DOE 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.
FedLoan Servicing provides information on the IDR plans available. It even has a repayment calculator so you can get an estimate of your monthly payment under each plan. That way, you can make an educated decision.
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.
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.
4. 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 DOE will transfer your loans to FedLoan Servicing.
Through the online MyFedLoan platform, you can download and complete the Employer 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.
In some cases, you might be able to qualify for a discharge of your student loans. For example, if you’re permanently disabled and unable to work, you might be eligible for Total and Permanent Disability Discharge.
You can find out about all the possible discharge options and how to apply on the loan forgiveness and discharge section of the MyFedLoan portal.
When it comes to federal loan servicers, one common complaint is that you can’t switch servicers if you’re unhappy with the one the DOE assigned to you. That issue is a real problem for some FedLoan Servicing customers.
The company is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), but there are many reviews on the BBB site. Most of them are complaints — in fact, 97 percent of the BBB comments are negative. Many of the complaints are about how payments are processed and allege that PSLF applications are delayed or ignored.
The complaints are so numerous that FedLoan Servicing is now facing a lawsuit. According to The New York Times, the attorney general of Massachusetts filed a lawsuit against FedLoan Servicing’s parent company, PHEAA. The suit accuses the company of making errors while managing PSLF and raising borrowers’ repayment costs.
In a statement to The New York Times, a PHEAA representative said that the company does not agree with the allegations.
The lawsuit is ongoing, and it might be years before there is a resolution. In the meantime, you can contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to lodge a complaint if you experience problems.
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 will no longer be eligible for federal perks like IDR plans or forgiveness programs. That’s why it’s important to weigh the benefits and risks of refinancing before applying.
Tackling your student loan debt
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 platform has resources and information available that can empower you to handle your loans more effectively.
By being aware of some of the issues facing the company, you can monitor your account and take action if needed.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.99% – 6.65%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 7.10%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.99% – 6.44%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|1.99% – 6.43%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.19% – 6.08%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
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1 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
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. Mortgage lending is not offered in Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association.
ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (“APR”)
There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties associated with the loan. Lender may assess a late fee if any part of a payment is not received within 15 days of the payment due date. Any late fee assessed shall not exceed 5% of the late payment or $28, whichever is less. A borrower may be charged $20 for any payment (including a check or an electronic payment) that is returned unpaid due to non-sufficient funds (NSF) or a closed account.
For bachelor’s degrees and higher, up to 100% of outstanding private and federal student loans (minimum $5,000) are eligible for refinancing. If you are refinancing greater than $300,000 in student loan debt, Lender may refinance the loans into 2 or more new loans.
ELIGIBILITY & ELIGIBLE LOANS
Borrower, and Co-signer if applicable, must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with a valid I-551 card (which must show a minimum of 10 years between “Resident Since” date and “Card Expires” date or has no expiration date); state that they are of at least borrowing age in the state of residence at the time of application; and meet Lender underwriting criteria (including, for example, employment, debt-to-income, disposable income, and credit history requirements).
Graduates may refinance any unsubsidized or subsidized Federal or private student loan that was used exclusively for qualified higher education expenses (as defined in 26 USC Section 221) at an accredited U.S. undergraduate or graduate school. Any federal loans refinanced with Lender are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment.
All loans must be in grace or repayment status and cannot be in default. Borrower must have graduated or be enrolled in good standing in the final term preceding graduation from an accredited Title IV U.S. school and must be employed, or have an eligible offer of employment. Parents looking to refinance loans taken out on behalf of a child should refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for applicable terms and conditions.
For Associates Degrees: Only associates degrees earned in one of the following are eligible for refinancing: Cardiovascular Technologist (CVT); Dental Hygiene; Diagnostic Medical Sonography; EMT/Paramedics; Nuclear Technician; Nursing; Occupational Therapy Assistant; Pharmacy Technician; Physical Therapy Assistant; Radiation Therapy; Radiologic/MRI Technologist; Respiratory Therapy; or Surgical Technologist. To refinance an Associates degree, a borrower must also either be currently enrolled and in the final term of an associate degree program at a Title IV eligible school with an offer of employment in the same field in which they will receive an eligible associate degree OR have graduated from a school that is Title IV eligible with an eligible associate and have been employed, for a minimum of 12 months, in the same field of study of the associate degree earned.
The interest rate you are offered will depend on your credit profile, income, and total debt payments as well as your choice of fixed or variable and choice of term. For applicants who are currently medical or dental residents, your rate offer may also vary depending on whether you have secured employment for after residency.
The repayment of any refinanced student loan will commence (1) immediately after disbursement by us, or (2) after any grace or in-school deferment period, existing prior to refinancing and/or consolidation with us, has expired.
POSTPONING OR REDUCING PAYMENTS
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.
We may agree under certain circumstances to allow a borrower to make $100/month payments for a period of time immediately after loan disbursement if the borrower is employed full-time as an intern, resident, or similar postgraduate trainee at the time of loan disbursement. These payments may not be enough to cover all of the interest that accrues on the loan. Unpaid accrued interest will be added to your loan and monthly payments of principal and interest will begin when the post-graduate training program ends.
We may agree under certain circumstances to allow postponement (deferral) of monthly payments of principal and interest for a period of time immediately following loan disbursement (not to exceed 6 months after the borrower’s graduation with an eligible degree), if the borrower is an eligible student in the borrower’s final term at the time of loan disbursement or graduated less than 6 months before loan disbursement, and has accepted an offer of (or has already begun) full-time employment.
If Lender agrees (in its sole discretion) to postpone or reduce any monthly payment(s) for a period of time, interest on the loan will continue to accrue for each day principal is owed. Although the borrower might not be required to make payments during such a period, the borrower may continue to make payments during such a period. Making payments, or paying some of the interest, will reduce the total amount that will be required to be paid over the life of the loan. Interest not paid during any period when Lender has agreed to postpone or reduce any monthly payment will be added to the principal balance through capitalization (compounding) at the end of such a period, one month before the borrower is required to resume making regular monthly payments.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of June 23, 2020 and is subject to change.
2 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Splash Financial loans are available through arrangements with lending partners. Your loan application will be submitted to the lending partner and be evaluated at their sole discretion. For loans where a credit union is the lender, or a purchaser of the loan, in order to refinance your loans, you will need to become a credit union member.
The Splash Student Loan Refinance Program is not offered or endorsed by any college or university. Neither Splash Financial nor the lending partner are affiliated with or endorse any college or university listed on this website.
You should review the benefits of your federal student loan; it may offer specific benefits that a private refinance/consolidation loan may not offer. If you work in the public sector, are in the military or taking advantage of a federal department of relief program, such as income based repayment or public service forgiveness, you may not want to refinance, as these benefits do not transfer to private refinance/consolidation loans.
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 May 1, 2020.
Fixed APR: Annual Percentage Rate [APR] is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed Rate options range from 2.88% (without autopay) to 7.27% (without autopay) and will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. Rates are subject to change without notice. Fixed rate options without an autopay discount consist of a range from 2.88% per year to 6.21% per year for a 5-year term, 3.40% per year to 6.25% per year for a 7-year term, 3.45% to 5.08% for a 8-year term, 3.89% per year to 6.65% per year for a 10-year term, 4.18% per year to 5.11% per year for a 12-year term, 4.20% per year to 7.05% per year for a 15-year term, or 4.51% per year to 7.27% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. The fixed interest rate will apply until the loan is paid in full (whether before or after default, and whether before or after the scheduled maturity date of the loan).
Variable APR: Annual Percentage Rate [APR] is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Variable rate options range from 1.99% (with autopay) to 7.10% (without autopay) and will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. Our lowest rate option is shown with a 0.25% autopay discount. Our highest rate option does not include an autopay discount. The variable rates are based on the Variable rate index, is based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of April 27, 2020, the one-month LIBOR rate is 0.43763%. The interest rate on a variable rate loan is comprised of an index and margin added together. The margin is a fixed amount (disclosed at the time of your loan application) added each month to the index to determine the next month’s variable rate. Variable rate options without an autopay discount consist of a range from 2.01% per year to 6.30% per year for a 5-year term, 4.00% per year to 6.35% per year for a 7-year term, 2.09% per year to 3.92% per year for a 8-year term, 4.25% per year to 6.40% per year for a 10-year term, 2.67% per year to 4.56% per year for a 12-year term, 3.44% per year to 6.65% per year for a 15-year term, 4.75% per year to 6.93% per year for a 20-year term, or 5.14% per year to 7.10% for a 25-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. Variable interest rates will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. The maximum variable rate may be between 9.00% and 16.00%, depending on loan term. The floor rate may be between 0.54% and 4.21%, depending on loan term. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 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 3.19% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.43% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.43% 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 June 15, 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 6/15/2020. 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 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 0.2% effective May 10, 2020.