The lawsuit filed recently against Navient, the biggest student loan servicer in the United States, resignation with quite a bit of student loan borrowers who say they have experienced similar treatment such as surprise late fees, confusion, lost paperwork, processing delay, and misapplied payments.
Here are some actionable steps you can take to protect your interests and manage your student loans.
Actionable Step 1: Understanding all your student loan options
Student loan servicer basic goal is to help understand all your available options in regards to your student loans. It is not wise to rely solely on your student loan servicer to supply you with all of the facts. Do the research and invest time into forming your own educated opinion first. Student loan servicer’s are also known of steering student borrowers down the short term option when there are better long term solutions.
Solve Student Debt Line can help you understand more about these various options:
- Federal Student Loan Consolidation
- Student Loan Refinancing
- Student Loan Forgiveness
- Income Driven Repayment
Actionable Step 2: Always communicate in writing
It’s not unusual to call your student loan servicer to process a request only to find out later on down the road that nothing was done. Not only does this cause frustration but it’s also very difficult to dispute. Although it’s confident to call your loan servicer, make sure to have a paper trail. Always save documents and request for safe keeping until student loan has been paid off.
Actionable Step 3: Sign up for auto-payment
Aside from assuming that your monthly student loan payment is processed, enrolling into automatic payments with your student loan servicer is a must-do. In most cases, you may be eligible for a .25% interest rate deduction when enrolling into auto-pay. The preferred method is to enroll into auto payments directly through your student loan servicer, you also have the option of enrolling directly through your bank.
Actionable Step 4: Contact US Dept. of Education
If you feel that you have been unfairly treated by your student loan servicer or would just like to file a formal compliant in regards to your student loans (e.g. Direct Loans, Stanford, Parent PLUS), you can contact the Department of Education through the Office of Federal Student Aid. Expect to hear from the Department of Education within 15 days and a resolution 45 days following that.
Actionable Step 5: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
The CFPB is in charge of the supervision of financial services companies and enforcing federal consumer financial laws. You should contact CFPB when filing formal complaints in regards to private or federal student loan servicer’s. After submitting a complaint to the CFPB, the CFPB will forward it to the lender which would have 15 days to reply. Once you receive the response you will have 60 days to respond with resolution feedback.
Actionable Step 6: Monitor Credit Score
It is of the most importance that you monitor your credit score and credit report for errors. Your ability to manage outstanding debt and make timely payment, as a student loan borrower, is a direct impact on your credit score. There are 3 major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion.
You can request a copy of your credit report from each lender or check:
If you are interested in accessing your credit score on an on-going basis I recommend that you use Creditkarma.com, its free and easy to use.
Student loan servicer’s are known to make several mistakes throughout the life of your student loans, expect it! Monitor your credit score to ensure your payments are accurately reflecting to credit bureaus. It shouldn’t be your responsibility to check someone else work but unfortunately it is necessary. This is the easiest method to monitor student loan activity and lower stress by ensuring accuracy through credit reports.