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What to expect from MOHELA student loan servicing
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.
What repayment plans does MOHELA offer?
Because MOHELA is a federal student loan servicer, you will be able to choose from a variety of federal repayment plans, including income-driven repayment. The plan you qualify for will depend on your financial circumstances, and if you need to change things up or design something that better suits your needs, you can contact MOHELA by phone to discuss your options.
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.
Auto debit allows MOHELA to automatically deduct repayments from your bank account each month when they’re due. Aside from being the simplest way to repay your student loans, enrolling also qualifies you for a 0.25% interest rate discount if you have federal loans. Some private providers like SoFi also provide rate discounts for auto debit.
You can sign up for auto debit by logging in to your online account.
Another easy way to repay your loan through MOHELA is by logging in to your online account. It offers more flexibility as to when your repayment goes through, and you can make one-time repayments on top of your regularly scheduled bill.
To repay your loan online:
- Go to the MOHELA website and log in to your account. Select Make a Payment.
- Add your bank account number and routing number, if it’s your first time paying online. Otherwise, select the bank account you’d like to use.
- Enter the payment amount, and select the loans you’d like it to apply to. Click Continue.
- Review the date your payment is set to go through, your payment amount and the bank account you’re using before submitting your repayment.
Your repayment may be processed the same day if you pay before 4 p.m. CT on a business day. Otherwise, it’s processed the next business day.
Prefer not to pay online? Repay your loan through MOHELA’s automated phone system.
- Toll-free number: 888-866-4352
- International number: 636-532-0600
If you pay monthly bills and debt repayments through your bank or a personal finance app, you can also enroll your student loans.
Reach out to MOHELA for details on the payment address and instructions to provide your bank when enrolling your loans in bill pay.
MOHELA accepts checks and money orders by mail. Write your account number on your check and log in to your account or contact customer service to learn where to send your repayment, which varies by loan. Mail your repayment at least a week before it’s due to make sure it reaches MOHELA before your due date.
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.
Call customer service Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT and Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT. Have either your account or Social Security number on hand to access information about your specific loans.
- Toll-free number: 888-866-4352
- International number: 636-532-0600
- TYY: Dial 711 after dialing either the toll-free or international number
MOHELA accepts faxes if you want to send over a letter or document quickly and can’t upload it through your online account.
- Toll-free fax number: 866-222-7060
- International fax number: 636-787-2790
Borrowers can send forms and written correspondence to:
633 Spirit Drive
Chesterfield, MO 63005-1243
Keep in mind that it’s not the same mailing address that processes repayments by mail.
For questions that aren’t urgent, send MOHELA a message online:
- Go to the MOHELA website and select Contact Us.
- Select your state of residency and the topic of your question.
- If messaging is available for that topic, click Send Us a Message. Otherwise, review the FAQs or use another method to contact customer service.
- Log in to your account, and follow the instructions to submit your question.
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.
How do I submit a complaint?
Although MOHELA doesn’t have a unique complaint form, there are still ways you can address any issues or problems with MOHELA. The first — and likely most efficient — is calling or emailing MOHELA’s customer service team. While there have been a quite few complaints listed on its BBB page that state its customer service leaves a lot to be desired, this is the best place to start when you need help.
And if that doesn’t work, you can file your own complaint with the BBB. You can also take advantage of the CFPB’s complaint form if MOHELA fails to meet your needs.
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.
Frequently asked questions
Learn more about MOHELA with these answers to common questions.
If you have federal loans, complete and submit a form to MOHELA. The form you’ll need to complete depends on the type of deferment or forbearance you’re applying for.
Find a copy of the form by logging in to your account. Not sure which is right for you? MOHELA recommends reaching out to its customer service team to discuss your options.
Change your repayment plan for your federal loans by completing and submitting a form to MOHELA. Find the right form by logging in to your account or contacting customer service.
You can download your 1098-E from your online account as soon as it’s available — typically in January.
Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 1,000 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Business Insider, CNBC and the Simple Dollar feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.
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