36 Student Loan Questions to Ask Your Loan Servicer or Lender

 November 13, 2020
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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

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.

The servicer can also help you with more obscure student loan questions and give advice about student loan consolidation and refinancing student loans.

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.

Questions to ask about student loans

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

Balance

Rate

Monthly

Interest

Total

5 year10 year15 year20 year25 year
Balance
Rate
Monthly
Interest
Total

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.

–Cat Alford

Next steps to take if your servicer doesn’t answer your student debt questions​

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.

Cat Alford and Elizabeth Aldrich contributed to this report.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 9 lenders of 2022!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
1.74% – 8.70%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

1.74% – 7.99%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

4.44% – 8.09%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

1.74% – 7.99%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.89% – 5.90%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

1.74% – 7.99%6Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit NaviRefi

2.05% – 5.25%7Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

1.86% – 6.01%Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Elfi

N/A8Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit PenFed

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 May 4, 2022.


2 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

Student Loan Refinance Interest Rate Disclosure Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 2.99% APR to 8.24% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 1.99% APR to 8.24% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. The maximum rate for your loan is 8.95% if your loan term is 10 years or less. For loan terms of more than 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%. Please note, we are not able to offer variable rate loans in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX. Let us know if you have any questions and feel free to reach out directly to our team.


3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

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 Apr 22, 2021 and may increase after consummation.


4 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

Fixed rates range from 3.49% APR to 7.99% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates from 1.74% APR to 7.99% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 8.95% APR; 15- and 20-year terms are capped at 9.95% APR. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. 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. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.


5 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 April 29, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
 


6 Important Disclosures for Navient.

Navient Disclosures

You can choose between fixed and variable rates. Fixed interest rates are 2.99% – 8.24% APR (2.74% – 7.99% APR with Auto Pay discount). Starting variable interest rates are 1.99% APR to 8.24% APR (1.74% – 7.99% APR with Auto Pay discount). Variable rates are based on an index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) plus a margin. Variable rates are reset monthly based on the fluctuation of the index. We do not currently offer variable rate loans in AK, CO, CT, HI, IL, KY, MA, MN, MS, NH, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, and VA.


7 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 5/17/2022 student loan refinancing rates range from 2.05% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.49% APR – 7.93% Fixed APR with AutoPay.


8 Important Disclosures for PenFed.

PenFed Disclosures

Fixed Rate Loan Terms: 5 years/60 monthly payments, 8 years/96 monthly payments, 12 years/144 monthly payments or 15 years/180 monthly payments. Annual Percentage Rate is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed rates range from 3.29% to 5.43% APR. Rates are subject to change without notice. Fixed APR: Fixed rates will not change during the term. This rate is expressed as an APR. Since there are no fees associated with this loan offer, the APR is the same percentage as the actual interest rate of the loan. 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.