The Covid-19 forbearance ends May 1, 2022, and federal student loan borrowers will have to make their first payment in nearly two years. Contact your student loan servicer if you have questions about repayment plans.
Wondering who do you contact if you have questions about repayment plans? You’re not alone. Nearly 15 million federal student loan borrowers are moving to a new loan servicer following the announcement that FedLoan, Navient, and Granite State were cutting ties with the Department of Education. This movement, coupled with borrowers not having to pay a bill in almost two years, helps create an environment where it's not uncommon to know where your loans are and what options are available to deal with them.
Ahead, learn who to contact if you have questions about repayment plans and what questions to ask.
Latest on student loans
- Forgiveness update: $10,000 student loan forgiveness may happen later this year.
- Covid-19 forbearance extended: The newest student loan payment pause moved the repayment start date to Sept. 1, 2022.
- New deadline: The latest coronavirus forbearances moved the student loan recertification deadline to August 2022.
- Did your servicer change? Do this if you have a new student loan servicer.
Who do you contact if you have questions about repayment plans?
If you have questions about repayment plans, the first place to go for help is to contact the company hired by the Department of Education to manage your account: your student loan servicer.
Not sure who that is? Go to studentaid.gov, locate your account dashboard, and scroll down to the “My Loan Servicers” section. You can also call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.
It’s not uncommon to have more than one servicer — especially if you went to school before 2011 and borrowed a combination of Direct Loans, Federal Family Education Loans, and Federal Perkins Loans.
You’ll need to contact each servicer to learn your repayment options for the loans in its control.
Learn More: How to Payoff Student Loans Fast
Federal Student Loan Servicers Phone Numbers
- Aidvantage (took over for Navient): 1-800-722-1300.
- Edfinancial Services: 1-855-337-6884 for Direct Loans. 1-800-337-6884 for FFELP and private student loans.
- FedLoan Servicing: 1-800-699-2908.
- Great Lakes: 1-800-236-4300.
- MOHELA: 1-888-866-4352.
- Nelnet: 1-888-486-4722.
- OSLA: 1-866-264-9762.
- American Education Services: 1-800-233-0557.
- Default Resolution Group (only handles federal students loans in default): 1-800-621-3005.
Questions to ask your servicer
What repayment plan am I in? Federal student loan borrowers can choose from different repayment plans depending on their financial situation. If you want to pay your loans off quickly, choose the Standard Repayment Plan. Or, if you need a payment amount that fits your budget, look into an income-driven repayment plan. Ask your servicer which repayment plan you’re in, and then decide if you need to switch plans to meet your goals better.
When do I need to recertify my income and family size? The student loan recertification deadline for all borrowers in an income-driven repayment plan is November 2022, according to an update from the Education Department. But if your income will increase, you may want to submit your recertification now while you’re earning less. That will keep your payments low and give you time to catch up on other bills. Read more about
What’s the amount of my first payment, and when is it due? Once the pause ends Sept. 1, 2022, you should get a billing statement at least three weeks before the first payment is due. If you haven’t changed repayment plans, your due date should be the same as before the pause. But your payment amount may be different. If you can’t afford it, look into payment options based on your income. Read more about how to calculate discretionary income for student loan payment.
What’s my account number? You need your student loan account number to get a tax credit from the IRS or refinance the loans with a private lender. If you have different types of loans with the same servicer, you may have more than one account number with that company.
What’s my interest rate? The average interest rate for all student loan borrowers is 5.8%. But the interest rate for your loans may be higher or lower depending on when you went to school and what type of loans you borrowed.
There’s no way to lower your interest rate with the Education Department. Consolidation won’t help. It uses the weighted average of all the loans included in the consolidation application. The only way to lower your interest rate is to refinance with a private lender.
Now may be the right time to refinance your student loan depending on your credit score. But if you do that, you’ll lose access to federal benefits like Public Service Loan Forgiveness and income-driven repayment plans. Read more about why are student loan rates so high.
How many months of credit have I accumulated toward loan forgiveness? If you work in public service or are making payments under an IDR plan, you earn credit towards student loan forgiveness for each monthly payment you make. Your servicer is tasked with tracking your progress and contacting you once you're close to making the last few payments needed for forgiveness. Read more about how to get rid of student loan debt legally.
How can I lower the payment for Parent PLUS Loans? The best way to lower payments for Parent PLUS Loans is to switch to the income-contingent repayment plan. The ICR Plan caps payments at 20% of your discretionary income and forgives your remaining loan balance after 25 years of payments.
And here’s the best thing about that plan: it typically doesn’t count Social Security benefits as taxable income, which means your monthly payment could be zero — even if your loan balance is high. Read more about Parent PLUS student loan forgiveness options and how to Payoff Parent PLUS Loans quickly.
Need help figuring out the best repayment plan for you? Let’s talk.
If you want to go over your options, schedule a free 10-minute phone call with me. I am a student loan lawyer with years of experience helping people find ways to deal with their loans so they can achieve their personal goals: start a family, buy a house, retire, etc.