So you took out a federal student loan and now it’s time to pay it back. I was in your exact position 2 years ago and even though I was working at Federal Student Aid, the student loan repayment process had me overwhelmed.
One of my first questions was: Why am I receiving federal student loan bills from a company rather than the U.S. Department of Education? If you have asked yourself a similar question, this may help:
What is a loan servicer?
A loan servicer is a company that handles the billing and other services on your federal student loans. So those bills you get in the mail? There is a good chance they are coming from a loan servicer on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education.
How do I find out who my loan servicer is?
To view information about all of the federal student loans you have received and to find contact information for your loan servicer, visit www.nslds.ed.gov and select “Financial Aid Review.” You will then be prompted to log in using your Federal Student Aid PIN, so make sure you have that handy.
Note: If you have multiple federal student loans, you may have more than one loan servicer, so make sure you click through each loan individually for information specific to that loan.
Why should I care?
There are lots of reasons you should care! Among many other things, your loan servicer
- is the company you will make payments to;
- can help you choose or change your repayment plan;
- can help you learn about loan consolidation or your forgiveness, cancellation or discharge options; and can counsel you on ways to make your payments more affordable.
Moral of the story: Keep in contact with your loan servicer.
The student loan repayment process can be confusing, especially if you’re new at it, but your loan servicer is there to help. Make sure you stay in touch with them and use the resources they have available for you.
Nicole Callahan is a new media analyst at the Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.