Can I switch my student loan servicer?
Federal student loan servicers are in a state of flux right now, and there’s a chance your student loan has changed or will change servicers
If you borrowed student loans, you may wonder if you can change student loan servicers. You do have options, but your student loan servicers can also change even if you don’t take action.
Loan servicers change for many reasons. For example, student loan servicers may cease operations, or the Department of Education may change servicers to improve borrowers’ federal student aid experience.
If you’re affected by a student loan servicer change, the Department of Education or your servicer will contact you. It’s a good idea to check the servicer for all your student loans via the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).
Here’s what you need to know about switching student loan servicers.
Refinancing is one option for changing your loan servicer. Credible makes it easy to compare student loan refinance rates from various lenders, all in one place.
- How can I change my student loan servicer?
- Which student loan servicers are changing?
- Student loan refinancing vs. consolidation
- Should I refinance my student loans?
How can I change my student loan servicer?
You have a few ways to change your student loan servicer:
Refinance your student loans
Refinancing your student loans allows you to change your student loan servicer. When you refinance, you combine your loans into one new private loan with a single monthly payment, usually with a better interest rate and repayment terms.
You can refinance private student loans or a mixture of private and federal student loans. But if you refinance your federal student loans, you’ll lose federal student loan benefits, like student loan forgiveness, student loan deferment and forbearance, and income-driven repayment plans.
Consolidate your student loans
If you have federal student loans and don’t want to lose the benefits, you can consolidate your loans with a Direct Consolidation Loan. You may be able to choose a different loan servicer when you do so.
The current loan servicers for a Direct Consolidation Loan are:
- Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc.
- OSLA Servicing
Like refinancing, loan consolidation can help you combine multiple loans into a single loan, which can make it easier to manage student loan payments. Unlike refinancing, you may not get a lower interest rate. Your interest rate on a Direct Consolidation Loan will be the weighted average of the loans you’re consolidating.
Another thing to keep in mind with Direct Consolidation Loans is you could lose out on some loan cancellation benefits that your current loans have. And if you extend your loan repayment term, you’ll likely pay more in interest over the life of your loan.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT STUDENT LOAN CONSOLIDATION
Pursue loan forgiveness
Student loan borrowers can also change service providers by applying for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). To qualify for PSLF, you must work full-time for a federal, state, local, or tribal government or qualifying not-for-profit organization. In addition, you must have made 120 qualifying payments on Direct Loans under an income-driven repayment plan.
Once you apply for PSLF, your student loan debt automatically transfers to FedLoan Servicing, which handles PSLF through December 2022. After that, federal student loan borrowers who apply for PSLF will have their applications handled by MOHELA.
With Credible, you can compare student loan refinance rates from multiple lenders in minutes.
Which student loan servicers are changing?
Some federal student loan servicers are changing. Servicers leave the industry for several reasons, including an inability to generate profits on student loan servicing, contract disagreements with the Department of Education, or a desire to focus their efforts elsewhere.
The following loan servicers aren’t renewing their contracts with the Department of Education:
Navient transferred its contract to Aidvantage, a division of Maximus Federal Services, Inc., at the end of 2021. Navient will continue to service federal student loans in the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program owned by private lenders, in addition to private student loans.
If you’re a federal student loan borrower, you don’t have to take any action beyond creating or updating your FSA account to make sure the Department of Education has your correct address.
NAVIENT AGREES TO CANCEL MILLIONS IN STUDENT LOANS: WHO’S AFFECTED AND WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Granite State Management & Resources
Granite State Management & Resources officially ended its contract with the Department of Education after it expired on Dec. 31, 2021. The loan servicer decided to instead focus its efforts on EDvestinU, its private student loan product.
The Department of Education chose Edfinancial to take over as the servicer for those loans. If your federal loans were previously serviced by Granite State, you should have received an email from Edfinancial notifying you that your loans have been transferred and letting you know about changes you can expect.
FedLoan Servicing, which conducts student loan servicing for the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), opted to end its contract with the U.S. Department of Education on Dec. 14, 2021, due to the increase in complexity and cost to service federal student loans over the years. However, FedLoan Servicing agreed to a one-year extension of its contract, so it will continue to service student loans until December 2022.
After FedLoan’s loan servicing contract expires, its student loans will be transferred to Aidvantage, Edfinancial, the Higher Education Loan Authority of the State of Missouri (MOHELA), and Nelnet.
If you had loans with FedLoan Servicing, you should have received notice from the Department of Education, FedLoan Servicing, or your new loan servicer. If you haven’t, then FedLoan is still your loan servicer.
In addition, if you have student loans enrolled in the PSLF Program or are a recipient of a Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant, your federal loans will be moved to MOHELA in 2022. You’ll receive a notice from MOHELA once the transfer is complete.
Student loan refinancing vs. consolidation
If you’re looking to switch student loan servicers via refinancing or federal student loan consolidation, know that both have their upsides and downsides.
Federal student loan consolidation
Some of the advantages and disadvantages of consolidation include:
- It bundles multiple federal student loans into a single loan, making it easier to manage repayment.
- Consolidation allows you to extend your repayment term up to 30 years, which can lower your monthly payment.
- You can switch variable-rate loans to a fixed-rate loan.
- Consolidating won’t necessarily lower your interest rate.
- If you extend your repayment period, you’ll end up paying more in interest over the life of the loan.
- You may lose some benefits you have on your current loans, like interest rate discounts or loan cancellation benefits.
Student loan refinancing
Student loan refinancing, which replaces existing federal or private student loans with a single private student loan, also has benefits and drawbacks:
- You could get a lower interest rate.
- You can pay off your loans faster if you choose a shorter repayment term.
- You can lower your monthly payment by extending your repayment term.
- You’ll lose access to federal student loan benefits, like forbearance and income-driven repayment plans.
- Student loan refinancing requires a credit check. If you only have a few years left on your student loans, you may end up adding years (and more interest) to your loan if you refinance.
WHAT IS AN INCOME-DRIVEN REPAYMENT PLAN AND HOW DO YOU QUALIFY FOR ONE?
Should I refinance my student loans?
Refinancing your student loans can be an intriguing option — whether you want to change student loan servicers or not.
But you should ask yourself some key questions before you decide to refinance:
- Will doing so lower my interest rate? A lower interest rate could potentially save you a lot of money over the life of your loan.
- Is my credit score strong enough? Higher credit scores typically allow you to get lower interest rates. If your credit hasn’t improved since you first got your loans, it may not be high enough to get a good rate.
- Will I lose out on federal student loan perks? When you refinance federal loans into a private student loan, you won’t be able to take advantage of loan forgiveness, loan forbearance and deferment, or income-driven repayment plans.
- Will I have to extend my repayment term and pay more in interest? Refinancing to a longer repayment term may lower your monthly payment, but you’ll likely pay more in interest over the course of the loan. Consider whether the monthly savings are worth it.
With Credible, you can easily compare student loan refinance rates without affecting your credit score.