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How to file a complaint against your student loan servicer

Get help settling disputes or raising awareness of bad business practices.

Filing a complaint with a third-party organization like the CFPB or FTC can help you and your student loan servicer come to an agreement on a wide range of disputes — from incorrect balances to issues with deferment. It also provides government agencies with data they can use to change laws and prevent these issues from happening again.

How can I file a complaint against my servicer?

If you can’t successfully resolve your issue directly with the student loan servicer, submit a complaint through four main avenues:

  • Your servicer’s ombudsman or customer service team
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
  • Federal Student Aid (FSA) Ombudsman Group
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

5 steps to take before filing a complaint

Each option has its own procedure, but taking the following steps can smooth the process.

Step 1: Figure out the type of student loan you have

Do you have a private or federal student loan? Some organizations handle complaints for private loans, while the FSA Ombudsman Group deals with federal loans only.

Step 2: Identify the issue you need help with

What is the general topic of the problem you’re having with your servicer? Issues tend to fall within a handful of general categories:

  • Incorrect account balance
  • Incorrectly processed payments
  • Changing your repayment plan
  • Applying for forbearance or deferment
  • Inaccurate details on your credit report
  • Unwarranted default
  • Applying for cancellation, discharge or forgiveness
  • Consolidating your loans
  • Unwarranted tax refund, wage garnishment or collection charges
  • Issues with customer service

Step 3: Write out exactly what happened

Often you’re required to describe the issue and how it’s unfolded so far with your servicer — for example, how the dispute started and any attempts you’ve made to resolve it on your own.

It might help to write out exactly what’s happened and edit it down to a paragraph or two that provides details while remaining relatively objective. If you’re having trouble with this part, consider making a list of events or interactions so far to help you come up with the main points.

Step 4: Outline a satisfying resolution

You’re often asked to describe your ideal resolution to the problem at hand. But keep your suggestion realistic — the easier it is for the company to carry out, the more likely you are to see the resolution after filing a complaint.

Step 5: Gather your information

Include information that supports your complaint and account of events, including:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your servicer’s name and contact information
  • The name of your school
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your student loan account information
  • Correspondence with your servicer, including email or letters

How to resolve the issue with your servicer

  • Eligible loans: Federal and private student loans

Many student loan servicers work with a third party to resolve disputes internally. This third party is often called the ombudsman or office of consumer advocate. While each servicer has its own process for filing a complaint, you can typically do so by submitting an official form. Many servicers include a PDF on their website outlining the procedure with contact information. Others might require you to email for details.

A third party is considered the first step in complaining about a servicer and finding resolution to your issue. Some agencies that handle complaints might require you to show that you’ve tried to resolve the problem with the company first.

What happens if I can’t find the ombudsman’s contact information?

Some servicers’ websites are more difficult to navigate than others. But you can start with three steps:

  1. Log in to your account. A lot of servicers protect information behind a password, so you might be able to find contact information after logging in to your account.
  2. Call customer service. If your servicer really doesn’t provide information online about an ombudsman or consumer advocate, call the general customer service number and ask where you can send a complaint.
  3. Skip ahead and contact an outside agency. If your servicer’s customer service team gives you the runaround, consider filing a complaint with one of the three agencies below. Explain that you made an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the issue with your servicer.

How to file a complaint with the CFPB

  • Eligible loans: Federal and private student loans

Filing a complaint with the CFPB can result in this regulatory agency contacting your servicer directly. It also contributes to the CFPB’s complaint database, which it uses to shape policy and inform government actions against companies, including student loan servicers. While you can file complaints for both federal and private student loans, this option generally works best for private student loans.

File a complaint against your private student loan servicer by following these steps:

  1. Go to the CFPB website.
  2. Click Submit a Complaint at top right, and then click Start a new complaint.
  3. Review the steps you need to take to submit a complaint. Click Start your complaint.
  4. Under What is this complaint about?, select Student loan.
  5. Follow the directions to submit information about the type of loan you have, the school you attended and your dispute.
  6. Upload relevant documents supporting your case.
  7. Review the details of your complaint and submit it.

How to file a complaint with the FSA Ombudsman Group

  • Eligible loans: Federal student loans

Filing a complaint against your servicer through the FSA Ombudsman Group is a solid option for federal loan holders. This agency reviews your complaint and either works with the company to resolve the issue or refers you to another government agency.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Review the FSA Ombudsman information checklist on the FSA website and gather necessary information and documents.
  2. Go to the FSA Feedback System website and click Begin.
  3. Either log in with your FSA ID or follow the instructions to file a complaint without it.
  4. Select Repaying My Aid and click Continue.
  5. Click Dealing With My Servicer and click Continue.
  6. Provide details about yourself and the issue you’re having with the servicer.
  7. Upload supporting documents and click Continue.
  8. Review your complaint and check the box certifying that the information is correct. Click Submit.

How to file a complaint with the FSA Ombudsman Group offline

If you’d rather not submit a complaint online, you have options for mail, phone and fax.

By mail

Send a written complaint with supporting documents to:

US Department of Education
FSA Ombudsman Group
PO Box 1843
Monticello, KY 42633

By phoneGather all required information and call the FSA Ombudsman Group at 877-557-2575.
By faxFax a written complaint and any supporting documents to the FSA Ombudsman Group at 606-396-4821.

How to file a complaint with the FTC

  • Eligible loans: Loans that have gone into collection

If you’re dealing with a loan that’s handled by a debt collector, you can file a complaint against the company with the FTC. Otherwise, stick with the two options above.

The FTC won’t take action against the company, but it can offer recommendations for resolving your complaint. Your complaint is also added to a database shared with the CFPB, the Better Business Bureau and more than 20 state attorneys general offices, which can affect government policy.

Follow five steps to get started:

  1. Go to the FTC Complaint Assistant website.
  2. Select Credit and debt in the left menu.
  3. Select Something else.
  4. Provide details about yourself and your servicer.
  5. Review and edit your answers. Click Submit.

What happens after I file a complaint?

It depends on where you file the complaint. If you complain to your servicer, the CFPB or the FSA Ombudsman Group, it reviews your complaint and contacts the servicer to get its side of the story. The agency then tries to come up with a resolution close to what you’ve requested in your complaint — within reason.

If you file a complaint with the FTC, it offers recommendations for resolving the issue, though it won’t take action against the servicer itself.

Read more about student loan ombudsmen for a general overview of the complaint process.

How can I switch my student loan servicer?

Quickly switch your servicer in two ways:

  • Refinance your student loans. Take out a new loan with a private lender to pay off your current student loans — both federal and private — with more competitive rates or terms.
  • Apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan. Take out a new federal loan to pay off your current federal student debt with similar rates, but potentially more repayment options.

You can also switch your servicer by applying for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). You must make 120 repayments while on an income-driven repayment plan and work at an eligible job before you can apply.

A breakdown of how student loan servicers work

Compare student loan refinancing options

Explore your options by APR, minimum credit score, loan amount and loan term. Select the Get started button to start an application with a specific lender.

Name Product APR Min. Credit Score Loan amount Loan Term
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing (Variable Rate)
1.88% to 5.54%
650
$5,000 - $300,000
5 to 20 years
Refinance all types of student loans — including federal and parent PLUS loans.
Credible Student Loan Refinancing
1.80% to 8.90%
Good to excellent credit
Starting at $5,000
5 to 20 years
Get prequalified offers from top student loan refinancing providers in one place.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (with Autopay)
2.25% to 6.59%
650
Starting at $5,000
5 to 20 years
A leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi can help you refinance your loans and pay them off sooner.
Splash Financial Student Loan Refinancing
1.89% to 6.66%
650
Starting at $7,500
5 to 25 years
Save on your student loans with this market-leading newcomer.
Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinancing
2.39% to 6.01%
680
Starting at $15,000
5 to 20 years
Lower your student debt costs with manageable payments, affordable rates and flexible terms.
Earnest Student Loan Refinancing
1.88% to 5.64% APR with autopay
650
$5,000 - $500,000
5 to 20 years
Get a tailored interest rate and repayment plan with no hidden fees.
Supermoney student loan refinancing
Starting at 1.9%
No minimum credit score
$5,000 - $300,000
5 to 20 years
Compare options to combine both private and federal debts into one monthly payment.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Filing a complaint against your student loan servicer is a way to resolve issues when customer service is getting you nowhere. Be sure to reach out to your servicer’s ombudsman or consumer advocate before turning to the CPFB, FSA Ombudsman Group or FTC.

Learn more about how student loans work, including a breakdown of your options.

Frequently asked questions

Can I file a complaint against FedLoan?

Yes, you can file a complaint against FedLoan by first contacting the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) Office of Consumer Advocacy, which works with FedLoan borrowers. If that doesn’t work, consider filing a complaint with the FSA Ombudsman Group, CFPB or FTC.

Read our review of FedLoan to learn more about how it works.

Can I file a complaint with the Department of Education?

Yes. The FSA Ombudsman Group handles complaints for the Department of Education. Follow the steps above to file a complaint by mail, phone, fax or online.

Where can I file a complaint about my college?

File a complaint about your college with the FSA Ombudsman Group, your state’s Department of Education or the FTC if you think you’ve been scammed.

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