If you’re a student loan borrower, you’ve probably heard the term “student loan servicer” before. But what exactly is a student loan servicer, and why does it matter?
In this blog post, we’ll dive deeper into everything you need to know about student loan servicers, including how to find out who your servicer is, what services they offer, and how to navigate the sometimes-complicated world of loan repayment. Whether you’re a recent grad or a seasoned borrower, understanding your student loan servicer is a key step toward financial freedom.
What is a Student Loan Servicer?
In short, a student loan servicer is the middleman between you and the lender that you borrowed from. Servicers collect your loan payments, keep track of your account, and offer support for a range of repayment options, including loan forgiveness and payment postponement.
Over 92.7% of all student debt is originated by the federal government, making the US government the largest student loan lender. Regardless of the type of loan, all federal student loans are serviced by loan servicers. Loan servicers are also responsible for publicizing and ensuring all borrowers know of the possible programs and services they are eligible for. This includes items like different repayment plans, forbearance and deferment, or even forgiveness completely.
Although lenders do have the duty to make sure you are aware of the potential programs that could save you thousands of dollars, they do not have power to alter your payment structure nor your terms. As intermediaries, they act on your behalf to convey and prove your case to the lender in hopes of qualifying for certain relief programs.
How to Find Your Student Loan Servicer
Before finding who your student loan servicer is, you will need to find out if you have a federal or private student loan. Once you figure that out, you can use certain databases like the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and log in with your FSA ID. This system searches for federal student loan servicers. Once you’re in, you’ll see a comprehensive summary of all your federal student loans, including the types of loans you have, the amounts and outstanding balances of each loan, your interest rates, and who your loan servicer is.
Although, there have been some changes in the private student loan servicing industry, meaning your existing servicer may be transferred. For example, if your previous loan servicer was Navient, they are now transferring all loans to Aidvantage, a new servicer that is part of Maximus.
How to Contact Your Student Loan Servicer
There are many different loan servicers, some of which only deal with private and/or federal loans. In most cases your loan servicer will be one of the following:
|EdFinancial Services (HESC)||1 (855) 337-6884||www.edfinancial.com|
|FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA)||1 (800) 699-2908||https://myfedloan.org/|
|Great Lakes Educational Loan Services Inc.||1 (800) 236-4300||www.mygreatlakes.org|
|MOHELA||1 (888) 866-4352||www.mohela.com|
|Nelnet||1 (888) 486-4722||www.nelnet.com|
|OSLA Servicing||1 (866) 264-9762||https://public.osla.org/|
|Aidvantage||1 (800) 722-1300||https://aidvantage.com/|
|ECSI||1 (888) 549-3274||https://heartland.ecsi.net/|
|Default Resolution Group||1 (800) 621-3115||https://myeddebt.ed.gov/|
Can I Choose My Federal Loan Servicer?
Most of the time, federal loan servicers can’t be changed, and if they are changed, it’s not because of a request but rather something to do with the loan itself. However, there are a couple ways you could have your loan servicer changed. The most common way this is done is through refinancing your existing loans. To learn more about refinancing, what it is, and if you should potentially refinance, read our in-depth explanation of student loan refinancing.
What Should I Do if My Student Loan Servicer Isn’t Helping?
Unfortunately, there have been many legal battles where loan servicers have been found guilty of purposely being detrimental to students. Navient, in this specific case, was found guilty of purposely not recommending or even making certain income-driven repayment plans known to borrowers, but rather advising them into forbearance. Fortunately, after this huge legal battle, Navient was forced to settle over $1.7 Billion in student loans. This lawsuit forced other servicers, mostly private, to change their guidelines and actually ensure that they were working for the borrowers, in their best interest.
If, for some reason, you still believe that your student loan servicer isn’t helping, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) or contact the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group.
To summarize, student loan servicing is a completely different entity than student loan lenders. Operating as a middleman between the lender and the borrower, they manage and perform administrative duties surrounding the loan. Depending on your loan status, whether it is private or federally originated, you will find different servicers that are there to help you.