Your Guide to Student Loan Servicers

·11 min read

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Working with student loan servicers can have its pros and cons, and some servicers have had more public challenges or complaints made against them than others. There’s not really such a thing as the “best federal student loan servicer,” but there may be some you’d prefer to work with over others.

You typically cannot choose your servicer when you take out federal student loans, but you may do so in other cases, such as if you refinance your loan.

Let’s take a look at the federal student loan servicers and what you need to know about them. Specifically:

Latest news: the NextGen platform List of current student loan servicers What student loan servicers do How to find your student loan servicer What to expect if your student loan servicer changes What to do if you have a problem with your student loan servicer Latest news: the NextGen platform

Before we get into the current list of student loan servicers, it’s important to discuss the NextGen platform, which will change the way borrowers manage their student loan payments. The developing NextGen student loan services platform from StudentAid.gov is promising to ultimately move repayment to one place for all student loan borrowers. This means that the borrower-student loan servicer relationship may change significantly.

To that end, the U.S. Department of Education announced in June 2020 that it signed contracts with five federal student loan servicers who will help to bring the NextGen platform to life.

However, this list of servicers is not going into immediate effect, and Federal Student Aid’s chief operating officer, Mark Brown, has stated that student borrowers will not see a change in servicers before 2021.

It was also announced that all current servicers have had their contracts extended through 2021 or 2022. Nelnet and its subsidiary Great Lakes, part of the current list, have announced that their contract will not be in effect for the long term. But as things stand, there should not yet be any noticeable changes for students.

According to Brown in a blog post: “When the time comes to transition your account into the NextGen environment, you’ll receive emails, messaging on social media and a wide array of other communications about what to expect and how to continue to manage your account.”

List of current student loan servicers

While NextGen plans are still rolling out, the Department of Education continues to work with its 10 current servicers, as well as a Default Resolution Group for students whose loans have gone into default. These student loan servicing companies are responsible for administering all loans issued through the Direct loan program and the Federal Family Education Loan Program (which no longer provides new loans).

Below you’ll find a list of federal student loan servicers, some basic information for all of them and a link to Student Loan Hero’s comprehensive review for each.

FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA) Granite State (GSMR) Great Lakes Educational Loan Services Nelnet HESC/EdFinancial Mohela Navient Oklahoma Student Loan Authority (OSLA) Servicing ECSI

CornerStone

CornerStone website Telephone number: 800-663-1662, Monday through Thursday, 6:00 a.m. to 7 p.m. MST, Friday 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. MST. Servicemember number: 844-255-8326 Email addresses: General questions: customerservice@mycornerstoneloan.org, Servicemember email: Servicemembers@mycornerstoneloan.org Payment address: U.S. Department of Education, CornerStone, P.O. Box 979133 St. Louis, MO 63197-9000 Live chat is also available Click here to read our full CornerStone review FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA) PHEAA website Telephone number: 800-699-2908, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. EST International number: 717-720-1985 Hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired: Dial 711 Email: You can send a secure email through their website Payment address: Department of Education, FedLoan Servicing, P.O. Box 790234, St Louis, MO, 63179-0324 Click here to read our FedLoanServicing review Granite State (GSMR) GSMR website Telephone number: GSMR has several different phone numbers based on your account number. Check here to find the number that works with your account. Payment address: P.O. Box 3420, Concord, NH 03302-3420 Click here to read our review of GSMR Great Lakes Educational Loan Services Great Lakes Educational Loan Services website Telephone number: 800-236-4300, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. CST Email: You can send an email directly through the website General correspondence address: P.O. Box 7860, Madison, WI, 53707-7860. Payment contact information depends on your specific situation, which you can explore further by logging in. StudentAid.gov notes on its website that it is accepting payments for Great Lakes and its parent company, Nelnet, although you can also still make payments directly to the servicers. Click here to read our review of Great Lakes Educational Loan Services. Nelnet Nelnet website Telephone number: 888-486-4722, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. EST International number: 303-696-3625 General correspondence address: Nelnet, P.O. Box 82561, Lincoln, NE 68501-2561. Payment routing information differs depending on your account; check here to see where you should mail a payment. As noted above, StudentAid.gov is accepting payments for both Nelnet and Great Lakes, although you can also still make payments directly to the servicers. Click here to read our Nelnet review. HESC/EdFinancial HESC/EdFinancial website Telephone number: 855-337-6884 Direct loan payment address: U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 4830, Portland, OR, 97208-4830 Click here to read more about HESC/EdFinancial Mohela Mohela website Telephone number: 888-866-4352, Monday through Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. CST. Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST Address for assistance requests: 633 Spirit Drive, Chesterfield, MO 63005-1243. Log in or call for your payment address, which will differ based upon your account information. Click here for more information on Mohela. Navient Naviant website Telephone number: 800-722-1300, Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. EST. Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST. Payment address: Navient – U.S. Department of Education Loan Servicing, P.O. Box 4450, Portland, OR, 97208-4450 Email: You can contact Navient through email by logging in and accessing the “email us” feature Click here to read a comprehensive profile of Navient Oklahoma Student Loan Authority (OSLA) Servicing Oklahoma Student Loan Authority website According to OSLA’s website, their contact information is available only after logging in, and depending on the type of account you have. Go here for more. The Department of Education does list a general number at: 866-264-9762. Click here to find out more about OSLA. ECSI

ECSI website

Customer service phone number: 866-313-3797 Payment address: Department of Education, ECSI Federal Perkins Loan Servicer, P.O. Box 6200-31, Portland, OR 97228-6200 Click here to read more about ECSI What student loan servicers do

Student loan servicers handle all of the many complex and varied administrative responsibilities associated with managing student loans. The services that student loan companies offer to borrowers include:

Collecting loan payments Processing changes in name, address and contact information Setting up automatic payments Enrolling eligible borrowers in income-driven or other flexible repayment plans Providing other assistance to students who cannot afford to make loan payments, such as through forbearance and deferment Providing borrowers with educational resources to better understand their loans and repayment options Providing student loan forgiveness options (FedLoan Servicing is the servicer dedicated to forgiveness programs) Answering questions about student loan bills Providing customer service support to borrowers Issuing a Form 1098-E tax form that you need to deduct student loan interest from your taxes

If you have multiple loans, they may be assigned to different servicers. This means dealing with two different companies, or more, when setting up repayment plans or trying to take advantage of programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

In some cases, the Department of Education might also transfer your student loan from one loan servicing company to another one. You will still owe the Department of Education the same amount of money as you did before the transfer of the loan, but a different servicer will be responsible for helping to facilitate your loan repayment process.

How to find your student loan servicer

You can find all your federal loan information on StudentAid.gov, the comprehensive website for all student loan borrowers. The site displays information from the National Student Loan Data System, a database that has information on federal aid for students and parents across the U.S. You won’t have any kind of history until your loans have been dispersed to you.

You can find the list of all federal student loan servicers here (also detailed in the article above), along with their contact information. You can also call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.

What to expect if your student loan servicer changes

If the Department of Education transfers your loan to a new servicer, the assigned servicer who’s taking over the administration of your loan will typically notify you of the change via mail or letter.

Once your student loans are added to the system of the new servicer, you’ll then receive a full welcome packet that includes information about the transition to the new servicer and details about any steps you need to take, such as signing up for an online account with the new servicer.

Your loan terms don’t change when you move to a different student loan servicer. The new servicer receives all of your information from the previous servicer, including up-to-date payment information about your student loans.

Once you’re notified that your loan servicer is officially changed, you’ll need to begin sending your payments to the new servicer. If you have autopay set up through a bank or bill-paying service for your existing loan, you should update the contact information to the new servicer so your financial institution knows where to send the payment.

What to do if you have a problem with your student loan servicer

Student loan servicers are there to help borrowers, but that doesn’t mean they are perfect. The latest Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report from October 2019 logged around 25,000 federal and private student loan complaints overall, and noted the most-criticized lenders. From 2018 to 2019, 71% of complaints were about dealing with a lender or servicer.

Of all the servicers, Navient and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (which operates FedLoan Servicing) received the most complaints. Navient led in debt-collection-related complaints for both federal and private loans, and in March 2020, it also settled a lawsuit brought by teachers charging that the servicer didn’t adequately explain forgiveness program options.

FedLoan Servicing has also been the subject of lawsuits, with charges including the miscounting of eligible payments and giving bad information about how to obtain forgiveness.

Because you generally don’t have a choice of who your loan servicer is, understanding your rights as a consumer and carefully documenting information provided by your servicer can help you ensure you’re treated as fairly as possible as you pay back your student loans. You can speak up as a consumer and make a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau if you believe your servicer is mistreating you or engaging in unethical business practices, although you should try first to handle the issue directly with the servicer.

How to switch your student loan servicer

As noted, your servicer is assigned to you, and you don’t have much choice in the matter. However, if you hate your student loan servicer, you have a couple of options for switching. For one, you can consider refinancing your loans. While refinancing isn’t right for everyone, it’s one of the few ways you can end a relationship with a student loan servicer who’s making your repayment process more difficult than it needs to be.

Research any student loan companies you are considering to make sure they have a good reputation and won’t cause you more hassle as they administer your loan during repayment. You can check our guide on where to refinance student loans as a good starting point to find a student loan lender who will hopefully treat you better than the federal servicer you had trouble with.

Understand that if you do refinance, you’ll be working with a private lender, which means you’ll give up some of the privileges attached to having student loans, such as forgiveness programs, income-driven repayment plans and easier deferment or forbearance options.

If you have several loans, you also might choose to apply for a consolidation loan on StudentAid.gov. When you consolidate, you may also choose your loan servicer. Readers thinking about going this route can check out our post on how to ditch your student loan servicer.

Rebecca Stropoli contributed to this report

The post Your Guide to Student Loan Servicers appeared first on Student Loan Hero.

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