Introduction Paying For and Selecting a College Federal Loans, Private Loans, and How to Tell the Difference Repayment Plans Student Loan Servicers and Ombudsman Offices If You Can't Repay Your Loan Loan Consolidation Programs Loan Cancellation/Forgiveness Programs If Your Loan Defaults Collection Activities Additional Information and Assistance Glossary Index of Resources
Student Loan Servicers and Ombudsman Offices
Student loan servicersare companies that collect payments and administer a student loan. After a federal loan is disbursed, the U.S. Department of Education assigns it to a loan servicer. For non-federal student loans, the servicer may be your original lender, or it may be a different company. The monthly bill you receive for your student loan repayment is likely from your student loan servicer.
To find your student loan servicer:
- For federal loans—Log into the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) to look up your federal student loans and determine your federal student loan servicer
- For non-federal (private) student loans—contact your lender to determine your student loan servicer
- You may be switched to a different loan servicer, and you may have multiple loan servicers if you have more than one student loan.
- Answer your questions about your student loan
- Describe which repayment plans are available to you
- Assist with loan consolidation
- Process deferments and forbearances
- Provide assistance with forgiveness, cancellation, or discharge options
Unfortunately, many students and borrowers report that loan servicers can be hard to work with. They may lose paperwork, not return calls, repeatedly ask for the same information, or not provide help with repayment plans.
- Don’t ignore letters from your loan servicer.
- Notify your loan servicer right away about a change in your circumstances that affects your repayment.
- In your correspondence with your loan servicer include important details like your account number at the top of your letter or message.
- Keep a copy of your letters and emails, and of all bills, receipts, and replies you receive from your loan servicer.
- Notify your loan servicer when your address, email address, phone number or name changes.
- When you speak with a representative of the loan servicer on the phone, make a note of whom you speak with and what was said.
- Keep a log with the dates and details of your communications with your loan servicer.
- Keep track of your loan servicer for each loan. Although each loan has its own loan servicer, two or more of your loans may have the same servicer.
If you are having problems with your student loan servicer, contact your loan servicer’s customer service office, customer advocate office or ombudsman office. Those offices are supposed to assist borrowers when they have difficulty with the loan servicer. You can often locate these offices by checking the loan servicer’s webpage. If you cannot find contact information for these offices on the loan servicer’s webpage, check the Student Loan Borrower Assistance List of Ombudsman Offices, which provides contact information for many student loan servicers or loan guaranty agencies’ ombudsman offices.
Federal student loans
For federal student loans, you should contact the U.S. Department of Education about any problems with the loan servicer. The U.S. Department of Education hires and has authority over all servicers of federal student loans. You can report your concerns about your loan servicer to the Secretary of the Department of Education as follows:
United States Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue Southwest
Washington, DC 20202
You can also contact the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group for assistance with problems with your loan servicer. The Federal Student Aid Ombudsman is housed within the U.S. Department of Education and is authorized to help students resolve problems with federal student loans. You can contact the Federal Student Loan Ombudsman as follows:
U.S. Department of Education
Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group
P.O. Box 1843
Monticello, KY 42633
Private student loans
For non-federal or private student loans, you should let the lender know about problems with the servicer.
The Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has authority to address various student loan issues, including those concerning private student loans. You can file a CFPB Online Complaint Form with the CFPB Student Loan Ombudsman about your experiences and concerns about your private or federal student loan servicer. You can also contact the CFPB Student Loan Ombudsman as follows:
Student Loan Ombudsman
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
1700 G Street NW
Washington, DC 20552
If you need assistance in working with your loan servicer, a non-profit agency called Lutheran Social Services may be available to help individuals navigate repayment options, determine eligibility for alternative programs, and develop an individualized action plan. The Lutheran Social Services financial counseling program is free and confidential. Appointments are available across Minnesota for in-person appointments, and phone or skype options are available. Contact the Lutheran Social Services Student Loan Counseling Program here or by toll-free phone: 1-888-577-2227.
The National Consumer Law Center, a nonprofit consumer legal and advocacy group, has established a Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project that provides information about student loan rights and responsibilities. The Student Loan Borrower Assistance Website is a website resource that many borrowers indicate is helpful on many student loan topics.
You may also wish to report your difficulty with your loan servicer to the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office as follows:
Office of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1400
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 296-3353 (Twin Cities Calling Area)
(800) 657-3787 (Outside the Twin Cities)
TTY: (651) 297-7206 or TTY: (800) 366-4812
Avoid private companies that offer “student loan assistance help” by charging borrowers hundreds or thousands of dollars for services the borrower could receive free of charge. For more information, check the brochure prepared by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office entitled: Beware of Student Loan Assistance Companies that Charge High Fees To Do What You Can For Free.