Student Loans

Student Loan Servicers and Ombudsman Offices

Student Loan Servicersexternal link icon

Student loan servicers are companies that collect payments on a student loan and communicate with the borrower while the loan is in repayment. After a federal direct loan is disbursed, the U.S. Department of Education assigns it to a loan servicer. The Department may also transfer the servicing rights to another company during the life of the loan. Private student loans typically use third-party servicers as well but may transfer the servicing rights while a loan is in repayment.

To find your student loan servicer:

Student loan servicers are supposed to:external link icon

Unfortunately, many borrowers report that loan servicers can be hard to work with. This Office has received many reports of servicers losing or missing paperwork, not returning calls and being difficult to reach, repeatedly asking for the same information, or not providing help with or accurate information about repayment plans.

Here are some suggestions for working with student loan servicers:external link icon

For loans that have gone into default, management of the loan account will typically be transferred from the servicer to a debt collection agency. For information about working with debt collectors and the Department of Education when your loan is in default, see the sections below entitled, “If Your Loan Defaults” and “Collection Activities.”

Ombudsman Officesexternal link icon

If you are having problems with your student loan servicer, you can 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,external link icon 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 Educationexternal link icon 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 link icon

You can also contact the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Groupexternal link icon 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
(877) 557-2575 link icon

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 Bureauexternal link icon (CFPB) has authority to address various student loan issues, including those concerning private student loans. You can file a CFPB Online Complaint Formexternal link icon with the CFPB about your experiences and concerns about your private or federal student loan servicer. You can also contact the CFPB as follows:

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
1700 G Street NW
Washington, DC 20552
(855) 411-CFPB (2372)

Other Assistance

If you need assistance in working with your loan servicer, a nonprofit 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 virtual options are available. Contact the Lutheran Social Services Student Loan Counseling Program onlineexternal link icon or by toll-free phone: (888) 577-2227.

The National Consumer Law Center, a nonprofit consumer legal and advocacy group, has established a Student Loan Borrower Assistance Projectexternal link icon that provides information about student loan rights and responsibilities. The Student Loan Borrower Assistance Websiteexternal link icon is a 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 Keith Ellison
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1400
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 296-3353 (Twin Cities Calling Area)
(800) 657-3787 (Outside the Twin Cities)
(800) 627-3529 (Minnesota Relay)

Image of a Stop Sign Beware of Student Loan Assistance Scams

Avoid private companies that offer “student loan assistance help” or debt forgiveness. Many of these companies end up charging borrowers hundreds or thousands of dollars for services the borrower could receive free of charge and cause other problems for borrowers. For more information, review 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.