Report Finds Federal Student Loan Services Need Improvements


The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released its report on the U.S. Department of Education's (DoED) federal student loan program. It states that the DoED is in need of making substantial improvements to its customer service department and to the way it works with the various loan servicers that manage the billions of dollars in student loans that are made every year.

These servicers are contractors who work with the DoED to provide information to students and graduates about their student loans, including billing, loan repayment plans, and more. However, with over 9.1 million students taking out student loans totaling over $96 billion last year plus the number of graduates still paying on their loans, this is a very daunting task.

The final report highlights that the available call centers are too limited to handle the high volume of daily traffic, plus a number of areas such as complaint tracking are in need of improvements. One reason for this is that the DoED does not have a required standard for its call center hours of operations, meaning that some servicers may only be open during standard business hours, making it hard for some borrowers to call in.

According to the report, borrowers stated that for the third year in a row, getting through to a customer service representative at one of the call centers was difficult. As with a number of items highlighted by the GAO, this is one area that has been repeatedly earmarked but has shown little change.

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