Note that the situation for student loans has changed due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and relief efforts from the government, student loan lenders and others. Check out our Student Loan Hero Coronavirus Information Center for additional news and details.
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You might not realize that your student loan servicer — the company that handles your monthly payments — is full of information to help you along your repayment journey.
Sometimes borrowers are afraid to ask student loan questions, especially if they’re having trouble making payments. But the truth is that calling your servicer is your best bet for getting answers to those most pressing questions to ask about student loans.
- Ways to get help from your loan servicer or lender
- Questions to ask about student loans
- Next steps to take if your servicer doesn’t answer your student debt questions
Your servicer should be able to answer student debt questions if:
- You want to make your very first payment.
- You want to lower your payments.
- You’re having trouble making your payments.
- You want to pay off your student loan early.
- You have questions about going back to school.
As always, do your research, and don’t be afraid to challenge the person on the phone if you’ve read conflicting information. The point is to get the most accurate information about your student loan questions.
Once you know how to find your loan servicer, it’s time to dial, email or chat.
Here are some student loan questions to ask that can lead to helpful answers from your servicer.
|Student loan questions to ask your servicer, lender|
|Student loan basics||1. What are the differences between federal and private loans?|
2. How do I know what type of loan I have?
3. What is my student loan interest rate?
4. Am I eligible to take out more loans for next semester?
5. I returned my loan, so when will I receive my loan refund check?
6. Is my contact information up to date?
7. How long is my grace period after I graduate?
8. When is my first payment due?
|Student loan repayment questions||9. What is the best way to pay my student loan bill?|
10. Can I apply my extra payments toward the principal balance?
11. What is the benefit of paying interest on my loan while I am in school?
12. Is there any benefit to automating my student loan payments?
13. Is there any way I can lower my interest rate?
14. How can I lower my payments?
15. What happens if I miss a student loan payment?
16. How do I prevent delinquency or student loan default?
17. What are deferments and forbearances?
18. What are some scenarios in which I would qualify for a deferment or forbearance?
19. Will interest accrue and/or capitalize on my loans while my monthly payments are paused?
20. How can I rehabilitate my loans and stop wage garnishment?
21. What are my rights regarding student loan harassment from collections agents?
22. What should I do if I lose my job?
23. How will going back to school affect my student loan payments?
24. Do I get another grace period if I go back to school and graduate again?
25. How much will it cost if I want to pay off my student loans completely in the next 10 days? Can I get a loan payoff letter?
26. What repayment information will you be reporting to the credit bureaus?
27. Can I speak to your supervisor?
|Student loan management strategies||28. Do I qualify for income-driven repayment (IDR)?|
29. What would my monthly payment be on an IDR plan?
30. Are there any student loan forgiveness programs that I’m eligible for?
31. Do I qualify for any federal loan discharge programs?
32. Will my loans be discharged if I suffer a disability or die?
33. What are the differences between federal loan rehabilitation and consolidation?
34. How do I consolidate my student loans?
35. What is the difference between consolidating and refinancing student loans?
36. What benefits will I lose if I refinance my federal loans into a private loan?
One thing to note: If your student loan servicer recommends changing your repayment plan, it’s wise to get a second opinion before committing to a new plan. Reducing or postponing your monthly payment can give your finances some breathing room, but it usually means extending your repayment period and paying more in interest fees over the life of your loan.
Our repayment term calculator can do the math for you:
Student Loan Comparison Calculator
Explore all your options for lowering your monthly student loan payment, and follow up your phone call with additional research to make sure the change is right for you.
Student loan servicers exist to help
While your student loan servicer’s primary job is to collect the money your lender is owed, it’s also there to help you understand your repayment options and answer your questions about student loans.
Still, many people find it difficult to call and ask student loan questions on the phone, especially if they are dealing with financial hardship. However, those who have been in such situations say that once they called their student loan servicer and asked for help, they felt an immense sense of relief and wished they’d called sooner.
|Personal experience with student loan questions, successfully asked and answered|
Once upon a time, my husband and I wanted to send back $13,000 of his medical school loans. I’d recently received a promotion at work with a large pay raise, and we didn’t need all of the money we were awarded that semester. Our student loan servicer contract said that we could return the money within 90 days, and no interest would be charged on it.
It took a few calls to confirm that we could send the money back penalty-free. It was such an uncommon practice to send money back early that not everyone at the company was aware of the clause. However, we were eventually able to send it back, and we felt so great about it.
If you call your servicer with questions to ask about your student loans and find that the company isn’t helpful, write down the name of the person you spoke with, as well as the date and time.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) gathers information on student loan servicers that have not been helpful to students, and you can file a complaint to the CFPB. You can also submit feedback through the U.S. Department of Education’s student loan ombudsman if you’re dealing with federal education debt.
If you have a dispute with your student loan servicer, ask for a statement detailing your payment history and double-check your own records before jumping to conclusions. To avoid problems, the U.S. Department of Education recommends taking the following actions when contacting your student loan servicer:
- Keep notes of your conversation and who you spoke with.
- Follow up in writing and keep these emails or letters on file.
- Ask for a copy of your customer service history (servicers keep a record of notes made on your account).
- Always save your bills and receipts, as well as any letters or emails you receive about your account.
- Leave accurate contact information so you can be reached in a timely manner.
Most servicers should answer your student loan questions accurately, but you should still be your own advocate. Research your questions about student loans in length before calling, and ask lots of follow-ups. It’s a good idea to have a positive relationship with your servicer and be polite on the phone, even if you find yourself getting frustrated.
Asking for help isn’t always easy, but when you get the answers you need, you’ll be glad you did. After all, the more informed you are, the more likely you are to continue paying off your loans on time.
And if you’re looking for answers to student loan questions that your servicer can’t answer, check out our student loan FAQs.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2021!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.89% – 5.99%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 5.64%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 6.84%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.91% – 5.25%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.53%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.17% – 4.47%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|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 Feburary 1, 2021.
2 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 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.
3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. 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 0.15% effective Jan 1, 2021 and may increase after consummation.
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.
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 02/17/2021 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.91% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.95% APR – 7.63% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
6 Important Disclosures for PenFed.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed Rates range from 2.99%-5.15% APR and Variable Rates range from 2.17%-4.47% APR. Both Fixed and Variable Rates will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. For Variable Rate student loans, the rate will never exceed 9.00% for 5 year and 8 year loans and 10.00% for 12 and 15 years loans (the maximum allowable for this loan). Minimum variable rate will be 2.00%. 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.