How to work with this federal loan servicer — and avoid common problems.
The Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) is a student loan servicer that works with both federal and private student loans — including popular refinancing companies like SoFi. It has relatively few complaints compared with other servicers out there. But keep an eye on your credit report if MOHELA handles your loans: Several borrowers say that errors hurt their credit score.
How repayments work with MOHELA
MOHELA offers several options when it comes to repayments. If it’s your first time and you plan on paying online or over the phone, have your bank account and routing number on hand — you’ll need it to transfer money from your account.
Can I pay off my loan early?
Yes, though payments are applied toward outstanding fees or interest before covering your principal balance.
The fastest way to make an additional repayment is online:
- Go to the MOHELA website and log in to your account.
- Select Pay Online.
- Click Pay a Different Amount, and choose how much you’d like to pay and which loans you’d like it to cover.
- Review your bank account information, the payment amount and the date before submitting your request.
You can make additional payments by mail or over the phone. Log in to your online account or call customer service to find out where to send additional repayments. Include a separate document with your account number explaining which loans you’d like the additional repayment distributed to.
How to contact customer service
You have several ways to get in touch with MOHELA’s customer service team, from talking on the phone to sending a secure online message.
How to refinance my MOHELA student loans
Refinancing your MOHELA student loans involves taking out a loan with a private lender to pay off your current student debt. Aside from potentially landing more favorable rates and terms, it’s the only way to change your servicer if you have private student loans. You’ll need to confirm that it’s not with a lender that also uses MOHELA as its servicer.
Federal loan holders might want to think twice about refinancing, however. Most private companies don’t offer the same benefits you can find with federal loans, such as income-driven repayment plans and forgiveness programs. If you want to change your servicer, consider applying for a federal Direct Consolidation Loan, which also allows you to choose the company that services your loan.
Don’t refinance with SoFi or ELFI if you want to change your servicer. Both use MOHELA.
Compare student loan refinancing options
How to avoid common problems with MOHELA
Though MOHELA doesn’t earn as many complaints as competing servicers, borrowers say they’ve run into issues with the company. As of January 2019, more than 200 people have filed complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
And while MOHELA earns an A+ from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), it earns a low 1-star rating based on 19 reviews. On top of this, 65 customers have filed a complaint with the BBB.
Borrowers complain about two common problems you’ll want to stay on top of.
Inaccurate information on credit report
A top complaint against MOHELA is that it sometimes provides inaccurate information to credit bureaus, causing borrowers’ credit scores to drop. Some say late payments showed up on their credit report when they’d paid on time or were in deferment. Others claim a loan showed on their report after they’d paid it off.
- How to avoid it: First, regularly check that your repayments are going through, even if you’re enrolled in autopay. Make a habit of looking at your credit report to confirm that your repayment information is accurate. And reach out to MOHELA immediately if you notice any errors.
Trouble putting repayments on hold
Some borrowers say they had trouble with MOHELA when it came to deferment or forbearance. Several claim that MOHELA reported them as delinquent after they were approved to hold off on or make reduced repayments. Many also claim it was hard getting through to MOHELA to correct the error.
- How to avoid it: If you apply for deferment or forbearance, reach out to MOHELA before you change your repayment schedule. After you stop repayments or start reduced repayments, keep tabs on your credit report and reach out to MOHELA if your repayments are reported as late.
What to expect with other student loan servicers
MOHELA’s website is relatively easy to use, offering a lot of basic information. But the company doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to reporting repayments to credit bureaus — especially if you apply for deferment or forbearance.
Learn more about how student loans work to borrow smart and affordably for your education.