If you’re having issues with your student loan servicer and can’t resolve them, you can always contact a student loan ombudsman. An ombudsman reviews both sides of the problem to help identify a solution.
Find out what issues a federal student aid ombudsman can resolve and how to contact one.
What is a student loan ombudsman?
The Federal Student Aid (FSA) Ombudsman Group is an unbiased and confidential resource for when you have issues with your federal student loans. If your account is wrongfully in default or the balance is incorrect, an ombudsman can intervene.
A student loan ombudsman is a neutral contact, meaning they are not your advocate in a dispute. But they also are not on the loan servicer’s side, either. The ombudsman enters the conflict from a neutral standpoint. They then evaluate the data and enable both parties to come to a resolution.
An ombudsman can’t overturn decisions, but they can create an argument to present to the lender or collection agency. The ombudsman can help the decision makers make an informed ruling, which can help give you relief.
What kind of issues can an ombudsman resolve?
A student loan ombudsman can assist with many issues, including:
- loan balance discrepancies
- explaining interest or default charges
- identifying repayment options
An ombudsman cannot make decisions about loan forgiveness or repayment plans, though. And if you have private student loans, you need to work with an ombudsman specializing in private loans. The federal student loan ombudsman cannot help you. To find a private loan ombudsman, you can visit the website of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Before submitting a request
Reaching out to the FSA Student Loan Ombudsman Group should be a last resort. It’s a step you should only take when you have exhausted all other options. You should try to work directly with your loan servicer, credit bureau, or collection agency on your own first.
The Federal Student Aid Office created a resolution checklist you can use to help you manage problems on your own. Use the checklist and follow their recommended steps to try and resolve any issues. You should check off all the appropriate steps for your problem to ensure you did all you could before contacting the ombudsman.
Here are two common issues borrowers face and the steps you should take before reaching out to an ombudsman for common problems:
Incorrect loan balance
If your account balance has the wrong total, contact your loan servicer directly. You can gather bank statements or payment confirmation emails, and submit your proof to them.
When you contact the loan servicer, record the date, time, and name of any person you speak with and follow up via email or in writing. Save the originals of any payments, receipts, or emails about your issue. If you make payments electronically, download and save copies of the confirmation notifications.
If the loan servicer asks you to submit documentation, send in copies via certified mail, so you have a record of when they received it.
Inaccurate credit report
If you think your loan servicer sent incorrect information to the credit bureaus and it’s affecting your credit score, you can dispute the report.
If you contact Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion, and show documentation of your accurate loan balance and payments, they will correct your credit report. You can monitor your credit report and check for errors for free at AnnualCreditReport.com.
How to contact an ombudsman
If you’ve tried to resolve the issue on your own but failed, you can contact the student loan ombudsman online or through mail.
If you use the online form, you’ll need your:
- Social Security Number
- Phone number
- Email address
- Loan information
- Details about the problem
They need all of this information so they can locate your federal student loan account.
If you prefer, you can send a written request. If you choose this option, make sure you include all the information above in your letter. You can send the request and the documentation to:
The U.S Department of Education
FSA Ombudsman Group
P.O. Box 1843
Monticello, KY 42633
When reaching out to the ombudsman, make sure you have the documentation about your situation ready. And be able to pinpoint exactly what the problem is and what resolution you want. The FSA Ombudsman Group has an information checklist you can use ahead of time to outline the essentials.
After you’ve contacted the federal student aid ombudsman, they’ll research your situation and review the documentation you sent. They’ll work with you, your loan servicer, school, and even the collection agency managing your debt, if necessary.
From there, they will help you identify potential solutions and steps forward. For example, they may advise your loan servicer that the loan amount on your account is incorrect. Or they may refer you to another agency for issues outside their scope.
The ombudsman will ensure there is a resolution and will create a plan to avoid future issues from coming up.
When you’re having issues with your student loans, it’s easy to feel helpless when you’re battling big loan servicers. But when you have tried everything you can think of and still haven’t been able to fix the issue, a student loan ombudsman can be an essential resource to find a resolution.
For more information about how to handle student loan disputes, learn more about defense repayment rules and how they can help you.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
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 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% 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
APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” Rates listed include a 0.25% EFT discount, for automatic payments made from a checking or savings account. Interest rates as of 11/8/2018. Rates subject to change.
Variable rate options consist of a range from 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term, 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term, 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term, 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.98% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 2.35% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 2.40% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.65% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.90% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term would be from $180.89 to $193.75. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term would be from $139.65 to $146.76. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term would be from $104.56 to $111.98. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.77 to $86.78. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.05 to $75.68.
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.
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.
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 2.28% effective October 10, 2018.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.57% – 6.97%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.57% – 8.09%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.02% – 6.44%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 7.24%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.79% – 8.39%6||Undergrad & Graduate|