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When making your federal student loan payments, your loan servicer plays a vital role. You’ll work with this entity for 10 years or more as you make payments on your loan. You’ll also go to them with questions about your loan or to apply for alternative payment plans. One of the servicers with which you might work is MyFedLoan, or FedLoan Servicing.
To get an idea of who FedLoan Servicing is and what it offers, let’s look at the following:
FedLoan Servicing: the basics
FedLoan Servicing (the website is MyFedLoan.org) is a nonprofit organization run by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). Despite the association with the Pennsylvania-based agency, FedLoan Servicing handles loans nationally.
The federal government manages its student loans through a network of loan servicers. The system is set to change as the Department of Education rolls out its new NextGen platform. But for the time being, FedLoan Servicing is one of a limited number of servicers handling this debt.
That means that you might end up with FedLoan Servicing if you have one or more of the following loan types:
- Direct subsidized loans: These are need-based loans available to undergrads. The government covers interest charges while you’re in school, during your grace period and during any periods of deferment.
- Direct unsubsidized loans: Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for Direct unsubsidized loans, regardless of their financial need. You’ll pay interest while loans are deferred, including while you’re still in school.
- Direct PLUS loans: Graduate students and parents can qualify for PLUS loans, but unlike with other Direct loan programs, you can’t have bad credit. Interest isn’t subsidized with these loans.
- Direct consolidation loans: These loans allow you to combine all your federal loans into one loan with one servicer.
If you are not sure who your federal loan servicer is, you can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800-433-3243.
Managing your loans on the MyFedLoan.org platform
If FedLoan Servicing is your loan servicer, using the MyFedLoan.org platform is the easiest way to make payments, track your loan repayment progress, get information about forgiveness options and download the forms needed for deferment and forbearance, forgiveness and discharge, the TEACH grant and more.
To get started with the website, you first need to create an account. To do so, click on “sign in” at the top right, then click on “Create one now” below where it says “Don’t have an account?”
The platform will prompt you to enter your name, email address, date of birth and Social Security number or account number. Then, it will ask you to create a username and password and to set up identity verification questions. You must have a name that matches what they have on file for you as a borrower.
Once you have an account and sign in, you can use the platform to view your loan balance, payment due dates and interest rates.
More useful information and tools on MyFedLoan.org
Beyond information about your loans, the MyFedLoan portal also has several useful tools. For example, the site has a section dedicated to student loan basics, such as an overview of your repayment options, what to do if you fall behind on your payments, loan forgiveness and discharge and consolidation. The site even offers a glossary of financial aid terms and a collection of videos to help you manage the repayment process.
The site also features a resource center for borrowers who are still in school. “Student Loans 101” offers information on your responsibilities as a borrower and facts on student loans.
The “In Grace” section of the site offers information for students who are done with school and currently in the grace period. This section provides information on what happens during the grace period, how to prepare for making payments and how to understand the concept of interest. The section features a tool where you can review your loan information, and another where you can estimate your monthly bill.
There is also information on loan forgiveness and special programs for service members, as well as interest savings and grace period savings calculators. And you can find your tax information on the site as well, to view and print your IRS Form 1098-E (amount of interest paid), IRS Form 1099-C (cancellation of debt) if applicable and Tax Summary Statement.
How to make loan payments through MyFedLoan
You can make student loan payments in the following ways:
- Direct debit: You can link a checking or savings account to your FedLoan Servicing account. The company will automatically withdraw your payment on the same day each month. As an added benefit, signing up for automatic payments can reduce your interest rate by 0.25%.
- App: Use the app to send your payments or make extra payments on your loans. You can also use the app to view your balance and get other information on your loan.
- Website: You can manually make one-time payments through the site.
- Phone: FedLoan Servicing has an automated phone line you can call at any time to make payments. Dial 1-800-699-2908 and have your loan account number and bank account routing number ready.
- Mail: If you prefer, you can mail a check or money order to the company. Mail your payments to: U.S. Department of Education, FedLoan Servicing, P.O. Box 790234, Louis, MO 63179-0234.
- Third-party servicer: You may choose to use a third-party bill payment servicer or schedule payments through your bank. However, FedLoan Services notes on its website that they don’t have the ability to offer interest rate reductions or other incentives for auto payments set up by a third party, so the direct debit program may be a better choice.
- Advance payments: You may set up advance payments up to 60 days in the future, for a maximum of eight advance payments per month. You can schedule these advance payments directly through the website.
- Targeted payments: FedLoan Servicing allows you to target extra payment amounts to specific loans, as long as you pay the minimum amount due on each loan. Making extra payments on your loans may reduce the amount of interest you pay overall and could save you money over the long term.
Your repayment plan options
With federal loans, you have a number of repayment choices. Some last longer but offer lower payments, while others stick to the “standard” 10 years:
1. Standard repayment
The standard plan features a maximum repayment term of 10 years for unconsolidated loans, and up to 30 years for consolidated loans. The minimum monthly payment under this plan is $50.
2. Graduated repayment
This plan features monthly payments that initially are interest-only. Payments begin lower and increase every two years throughout a payment period with a maximum repayment term of 10 years.
3. Extended fixed repayment and extended graduated repayment
Both plans feature a maximum repayment term of up to 25 years, so there is a lower monthly payment than with the standard 10-year plan. You must have over $30,000 in outstanding Direct loans or Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL).
4. Income-sensitive repayment
This is only for payments related to the FFEL program. Monthly payments are based on your gross monthly income.
5. Income-driven repayment plans
If you can’t afford to pay the full amount due but can pay a portion of it, contact the company to apply for an income-driven repayment plan (IDR).
Under an IDR plan, the Department of Education caps your payments at a percentage of your discretionary income and extends your repayment term. Depending on your finances, your monthly payment could be much lower than it is today. You will pay more in interest over time, but an IDR plan can be helpful if you need relief right now.
More options for borrowers
Along with payment plans that can help borrowers who are having a hard time making payments, you can access these alternatives through FedLoan Servicing.
Remember that the last thing you want to do is miss payments and go into student loan default. Your loan will default when it’s over 270 days delinquent, and this can have a very negative effect on your credit rating and even ultimately lead to garnishment of your wages, withholding of your tax refunds and loss of eligibility for federal and state financial aid.
If you’re in a tough spot, here are some options you can investigate with MyFedLoan:
If you can’t afford to make any payment toward your loan, you might qualify for a loan deferment. With a deferment, you can postpone making payments for up to 36 months. If you have subsidized loans, the government will cover the accrued interest while the loan is in deferment.
Under the “Manage Repayment” section of your account, you can take a quiz to see if you fit the eligibility requirements before applying online for a deferment.
Forbearances are similar to deferments in that you can postpone payments. However, you can only pause payments for up to 12 months at a time with a forbearance. Unlike deferments, you are responsible for all interest that accrues, regardless of your loan type. You can take a quiz on the site to give you a better idea of whether deferment or forbearance is right for you.
3. Student loan forgiveness
If you’re planning on pursuing Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), FedLoan Servicing is the only servicer that manages PSLF applications. In fact, if you have another servicer but are eligible for PSLF, the Department of Education will transfer your loans to FedLoan Servicing.
Through the online MyFedLoan platform, you can download and complete the Employment Certification Form (EFC). The EFC is a form you periodically submit as you work toward PSLF. The servicer reviews the form to ensure you’re eligible for PSLF.
FedLoan Servicing is also the only student loan servicer that manages the TEACH Grant, which provides grants of up to $4,000 per year for students planning to enter the education field.
4. Payment due date changes
You may choose to change your payment due date to a time when you know you’ll have more money in your bank account. You can set up this due date change through the website.
MyFedLoan notes that you may choose to consolidate your federal loans into one payment, which could lower your monthly output. You will apply for a consolidation loan directly through studentaid.gov.
In some cases, you might be able to qualify for a discharge of your student loans. For example, if you suffer the misfortune of becoming permanently disabled and unable to work, you might at least be eligible for Total and Permanent Disability discharge. There are also discharges for students who were defrauded by their school, or whose schools have closed.
FedLoan Servicing lawsuits
FedLoan Servicing is a legitimate servicer approved by the Department of Education, but it does not have a perfect record.
In 2017, the attorney general of Massachusetts filed a lawsuit against FedLoan Servicing’s parent company, PHEAA. The suit accused the company of making errors while managing PSLF and raising borrowers’ repayment costs.
And in 2019, the New York attorney general charged that mishandling of Public Service Loan Forgiveness applications had led to a 99% rejection rate. Among the accusations is that the agency has miscounted eligible payments and given bad information to borrowers about how to attain loan forgiveness.
The lawsuits are ongoing, and not necessarily unusual; other student loan servicers including Navient and Great Lakes Educational Loan Services have been the subject of lawsuits as well.
Still, the suits are worth noting. If you have a problem with FedLoan Servicing or any other loan servicer, you should first try to resolve it directly with your servicer. If that does not work, you can file a complaint with the Department of Education.
What to do if you want a new servicer
Although you can’t switch federal loan servicers, there is another way to change servicers if you’re unhappy with the one you’ve been assigned.
To get a new servicer, you can refinance your student loans with a private company. Through refinancing, you take out a new loan from a bank or financial institution and use it to pay off your current student loans.
The new loan is managed by a separate company and might have a different repayment term, interest rate and minimum payment. You could use refinancing to save money over time or to reduce your monthly payment. However, it’s important to know that you will lose out on federal loan benefits if you refinance.
You also may be able to use federal loan consolidation to get a new loan servicer. While you don’t get to choose your student loan servicer when you first get your federal loan, you can do so with a consolidation loan.
Here’s more about what to do if you hate your federal student loan servicer.
How to contact FedLoan Servicing
You can contact FedLoan Servicing by phone at 800-699-2908, Monday through Friday at 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. EST. If you are calling internationally, contact them at 717-720-1885 during the same period. You can dial 711 for support for hearing- and speech-imparied callers.
In order to send an email, you must have an account and do so through a secure email program.
There are several mailing addresses:
Department of Education
P.O. Box 790234
St. Louis, MO 63179-0234
Send completed Direct Debit application forms to:
P.O. Box 3661
Harrisburg, PA 17105-3661
Send letters and correspondence to:
P.O. Box 69184
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9184
For credit disputes:
FedLoan Servicing Credit
P.O. Box 60610
Harrisburg, PA 17106-0610
Send Consolidation related letters and correspondence to:
FedLoan Consolidation Department
P.O. Box 69186
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9186
Contact the Office of Consumer Advocacy at:
Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency
The Office of Consumer Advocacy
1200 North 7th Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102
Tackling your student loan debt with MyFedLoans
Managing your loans can be overwhelming, but understanding who your loan servicer is and what repayment options are available can help you through the process. The MyFedLoan.org platform has resources and information available that can empower you to handle your loans more effectively if they are your loan servicer.
By being aware of some of the issues facing the company, you can monitor your account and take action if needed.
Looking for more information on how to manage your student loan debt? Here’s our guide to paying off student loans faster.
Rebecca Stropoli contributed to this report.
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