A student loan servicer is a company that performs administrative tasks on behalf of a lender, such as the U.S. Department of Education. These companies send out bills, disburse money and collect payments from borrowers. If you ever have questions about your student loans, your loan servicer will provide the answers.
Here are four questions we’ll answer, along with some additional FAQs at the end:
- What is a loan servicer?
- What does a student loan servicer do?
- How do you find your student loan servicer?
- What are the current 11 student loan servicing companies?
- Student loan servicer FAQ
Loan servicers work on behalf of the loan’s lender, and for federal student loans, the government is the lender. These companies collect payments, adjust repayment plans, track repayment and deal with other loan administration tasks. Loan servicing companies serve as a federal student loans contact for borrowers. If you have questions about your loans, a federal student loan specialist from your loan servicer will help you.
- Disburse loan payments
- Track loans when borrowers are in school
- Send monthly bills
- Collect student loan payments
- Adjust repayment plans
- Grant deferment or forbearance
- Track progress towards loan forgiveness
- Discuss cancellation or discharge
- Plus: 5 student loan servicer warning signs
When students take out loans, the loan servicing company disburses proceeds to the borrower.
While you’re in school, loan servicers will keep track of your account information, including the loan balances. Borrowers who have questions about how to view federal student loans can ask their loan servicer for help.
Loan servicers send monthly bills to borrowers. It’s important to keep your address or email address up to date with your loan servicer, so that way the loan servicer can send your bill to the correct location.
When you pay back your student loans, you won’t be paying the Department of Education directly. Instead, loan servicing companies collect student loan payments on behalf of the government. If you want to set up automatic debits for your student loans, you can do so through your loan servicer.
If you cannot afford the monthly payment for a standard 10-year repayment plan, your loan servicer can help you enroll in an income-driven repayment plan. Income driven-repayment plans are designed to make student loan repayment more affordable.
Your loan servicer should be knowledgeable about these plans, but you may want to do some research ahead of time to figure out what plan works best for you. This Department of Education loan simulator can help you find a plan with a payment that fits into your budget.
During a loan deferment or forbearance, borrowers can temporarily stop making payments on their student loans. Loan servicers allow borrowers to request deferment by filling out a form and providing documentation that proves the borrower is eligible. During deferment and forbearance, interest generally continues to accrue on your loans. Whether you have to pay it back depends on your loan type and your relief option.
Loan forbearance doesn’t usually involve interest forgiveness, so unpaid interest is added to the loan balance at the end of forbearance (unless you pay it throughout the forbearance). In contrast, borrowers may or may not be responsible for paying back unpaid interest during deferment. Borrowers deferring subsidized loans, such as direct subsidized loans or Perkins loans, aren’t responsible for unpaid interest during a deferment. However, interest on unsubsidized loans accrues during deferment, and the unpaid interest on unsubsidized loans is then capitalized (added to the loan balance) at the end of the deferment period. Borrowers who will be responsible for unpaid interest may want to look into income-driven repayment plans before pursuing deferment or forbearance.
If you’re working towards student loan forgiveness, you’ll need to work closely with your loan servicer. Different loan forgiveness programs are administered by different loan servicers. For example, TEACH grants and Public Service Loan Forgiveness are only administered by FedLoan Servicing. The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, however, can be administered by any federal loan servicing company, so teachers would be able to stick with their given loan servicer or servicers.
Student loans can be discharged due to unforeseen circumstances, such as bankruptcy, total disability or death. Your loan servicer can provide information on whether you may qualify for cancellation or discharge. A loan servicing specialist can also explain how to apply for certain types of discharge.
Loans can also be canceled after 20 to 25 years of on-time payments under qualified income-driven repayment plans. Your loan servicing company will track your progress towards this type of loan cancellation.
- Misallocated payments
- Bad advice surrounding repayment options during financial hardship
- Delays when changing repayment plans
- Incorrect reporting to credit bureaus
- Harassment from debt collectors
Your student loan servicer will contact you when your loan is first paid out to you. Lost track of yours? You can find your student loan servicer by logging into the “My Federal Student Aid” website. Borrowers who haven’t created a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID will need to create an account before logging in. Once you’re logged into the site, you’ll see details about all your loans, including which federal loan servicing company handles the loan administration.
As of early 2020, there were 10 official Department of Education loan servicing companies, and one additional company dedicated to resolving loans in default. Below you will see the contact information for all official loan servicing companies. Note, however, that change is afoot: The government is currently making changes to its roster of loan servicers as it seeks to improve the way it administers student loans — see this post for more information.
- EdFinancial Services (HESC)
- FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA)
- Granite State (GSMR)
- Great Lakes Educational Loan Services
- Oklahoma Student Loan Authority Servicing (OSLA)
- Default Resolution Group
- CornerStone website
- Telephone number: 800-663-1662
- Email: [email protected]
- Hours of operation: Monday through Thursday, 6:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m./Friday, 6:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (Mountain time)
- ECSI website
- Telephone number: 866-313-3797
- Email: [email protected]
- Hours of operation: Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m-8:00 p.m. (Eastern time)
- HESC/EdFinancial website
- Telephone number: 855-337-6884
- Email: [email protected]
- Hours of operation: Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m.-8:30 p.m./Friday, 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. (Eastern time)
- PHEAA website
- Telephone number: 800-699-2908
- Email: [email protected]
- Hours of operation: Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. (Eastern time)
- GSMR website
- Telephone number: 888-556-0022 (direct loans), 800-719-0708 (for Family Federal Education Loans)
- Email: [email protected]
- Hours of operation: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. (Eastern time)
- Great Lakes Educational Loan Services website
- Telephone number: 800-236-4300
- Email: [email protected]
- Hours of operation: Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. (Central time)
- Mohela website
- Telephone number: 888-866-4352
- Email: Mohela provides a secure messaging platform here.
- Hours of operation: Monday through Thursday, 7:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m./Friday, 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (Central time)
- Navient website
- Telephone number: 800-722-1300 (U.S. Department of Education loans), 888-272-5543 (Federal Family Education Loan Program/Health Education Assistance Loans)
- Email: Borrowers can log into the site and email using the Email Us feature in the Help Center.
- Hours of operation: Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m./Friday, 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. (Eastern time)
- Nelnet website
- Telephone number: 888-486-4722
- Email: Borrowers can fill out a secured webform to consult about their loans.
- Hours of operation: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Eastern time)
- Oklahoma Student Loan Authority website
- Telephone number: 866-264-9762
- Email: [email protected]
- Hours of operation: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Central time)
This is a company that deals with student loans in default.
- Default Resolution Group Website
- Telephone number: 800-621-3115
- Email: Default Resolution Group provides a secure portal for email inquiries.
- Hours of operation: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m./Saturday, 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. (Eastern time)
Can I choose my student loan servicer?
When you first take out a student loan, you cannot select a loan servicing company. The U.S. Department of Education assigns servicers to borrowers, and the Department of Education may even transfer your loans from one servicer to another. Unfortunately, there are only a few ways to switch servicing companies.
Can I switch my student loan servicer?
If your loan servicer gives you problems, you may have a way out. Borrowers can change loan servicing companies by consolidating their loans. When you apply for a direct consolidation, you have the option to choose your loan servicer.
When should I contact my student loan servicer?
Loan servicers exist to help borrowers, so you should feel free to contact your loan servicer whenever you have a question about your student loans. Additionally, you’ll need to contact your loan servicer anytime you change mailing addresses or other contact information.
How do I file a complaint against my student loan servicer?
One of the best ways to file a complaint against a loan servicing company is through the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Feedback System. Borrowers can also complain through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s complaint site. Be sure to provide documentation and clear evidence when you file your complaint.
Kali Hawlk contributed to this report.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 9 lenders of 2021!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.89% – 6.15%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 5.64%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.80% – 9.36%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.91% – 5.25%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.53%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.15% – 4.42%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|2.00% – 5.63%8||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 May 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 2.89%-4.78% APR and Variable Rates range from 2.15%-4.42% 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.
7 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.
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.
8 Important Disclosures for Nelnet.
Checking your rate results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score.
Interest rate reduction of .25% for automatically withdrawn payments from any designated bank account (“auto debit discount”). Auto debit discount applies when full payments (including both principal and interest) are automatically drafted from a bank account. The auto debit discount will continue to apply during periods of approved forbearance or deferment if the auto debit discount was in effect at the time of receiving the forbearance or deferment. Auto debit discount will remain on the account unless (1) the automatic deduction of payments is canceled or (2) there are three consecutive automatic deductions returned for insufficient funds at any time during the term of the loan.
Request for the cosigner to be released can be made by the borrower after 24 consecutive, on-time payments (not later than 15 days after the due date) of principal and interest have been made. Borrowers in deferment or forbearance must make 24 consecutive, on-time payments after re-entering repayment to qualify for the release. The borrower must be current on their payments at the time of the cosigner release request and show the ability to assume full responsibility of the loan(s) by meeting certain credit criteria on their own at the time of the request, including, but not limited to, being a U.S. citizen or having permanent residency in the United States, being the age of majority in their permanent state of residency, providing sufficient proof of income, and having no student loans in default.
Hardship forbearance allows you to temporarily suspend payments on your loan(s) while you are experiencing financial hardship. It is offered in increments of two or three months, with a maximum of 12 months available, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. If your loan(s) are in good standing at the time of your request, you will be eligible for forbearance in increments of two monthly payments. If, at the time of your initial request, your loan(s) are considered past-due, you will be eligible for forbearance in increments of three monthly payments. Future increments of forbearance, up to a life-time maximum of 12 months, may be requested upon the completion of making a certain number of principal and interest payments. During the two- or three-month forbearance period, you will not be required to make payments; however, any unpaid interest will continue to accrue and will be capitalized (added) onto your principal balance at the end of the forbearance period. You may continue making payments in any amount without penalty during the forbearance period. Your loan repayment term will be extended by the number of months in the forbearance period.
Refinance Loan Eligibility: You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number, and be the legal age to enter into binding contracts in your permanent state/territory of residency, or be at least 17 years of age and apply with a cosigner who is at least the age of majority in their state/territory. Non-residents can apply with an eligible cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number. The student loans you refinance must be in their grace or repayment period, and you can no longer be enrolled in school on a half-time or more basis. You must have at least $5,000 in student loans to refinance. You, or your eligible cosigner, must have an annual income of at least $36,000. Approval subject to credit review. Other credit criteria may apply.
Refinance Loan Limits:
Loan Refinancing Risks: Federal student loans include benefits that may not be offered with private student loans. Carefully review any potential benefits that may be lost by refinancing federal and private education loans, such as the loss of any remaining grace periods. To learn more about what to take into consideration when refinancing federal student loans with private education loans, click here
Selecting ‘Get Started’ results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score.
Fixed interest rates range from 2.99% APR (with auto debit discount) to 6.25% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. The fixed interest rate will remain the same for the life of the loan.
Variable interest rates range from 2.00% APR (with auto debit discount) to 5.63% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. Variable rates may increase after consummation. The variable interest rate is equal to the One-Month London Interbank Offered Rate (“One-Month LIBOR”) plus a margin. The One-Month LIBOR in effect for each monthly period (from the first day of the month through and including the last day of the same month) will be the highest One-Month LIBOR published in The Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table on the twenty-fifth (25th) day (or if such day is not a business day, the next business day thereafter) of the month immediately preceding such calendar month. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for a variable interest rate loan will change monthly on the first day of each month if the One-Month LIBOR index changes. This may result in higher monthly payments. The current One-Month LIBOR index is 0.15% as of 5/4/2021.
The lowest interest rate for each loan type requires automatically withdrawn (“auto debit”) payments, a five-year repayment term, and the borrower making immediate principal and interest payments. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rate. The interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) may be higher depending upon (1) the credit history of the borrower and, if applicable, the cosigner, (2) the repayment option and loan term selected, (3) the loan type selected, and (4) the highest level of education attained. If approved, applicants will be notified of the rate qualified for within the stated range.
*Checking your rate results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score. **Your actual savings may vary based on interest rates, outstanding balances, remaining repayment terms, and other factors.