How to make repayments and avoid common issues.
How do repayments with CornerStone work?
CornerStone has a handful of options when it comes to how you pay off your student loans. If you don’t plan on paying by debit card or check, have your bank account number and routing number on hand before you get started.
How can I pay off my loan early?
There are a couple ways you can pay off your loan early through CornerStone:
Make interest-only repayments in school
If some or all of your loans are unsubsidized, interest begins to add up while you’re still studying. And once you do start making repayments, that interest gets added to your loan balance, increasing the overall cost of your loan. To avoid this, CornerStone recommends that you make interest-only repayments as soon as possible by logging in and creating an account.
Another option to pay off your loan early is to make an extra payment above the minimum amount. CornerStone first applies your extra payments to any unpaid interest before applying it to your loan principal.
If you pay off all or part of your next payment amount ahead of time, you won’t have to make a minimum payment the following month. However, you can continue to prepay your loan and pay it off early. Unlike with some servicers, CornerStone doesn’t provide instructions on how to make targeted prepayments toward certain loans, though you might be able to by calling customer service.
How to contact customer service
CornerStone has several ways you can reach customer service — and is one of the few providers that allows you to just drop in.
How to refinance my CornerStone student loans
Currently, refinancing is one of the only ways to change your federal loan servicer — you can also apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan or public service forgiveness to work with another federal loan servicer like FedLoan or Nelnet. But switching to a private lender gives you more servicers to choose from.
Before you refinance, be aware of what you stand to lose. You won’t be eligible for certain forgiveness programs, flexible repayment plans including income-driven repayments, and your deferment and forbearance options are typically more limited. Also, make sure to research which servicer your refinancing provider uses when comparing options.
Compare student loan refinancing options
How to avoid common problems with CornerStone
While there’s not much out there about CornerStone Education Loan servicing itself, its parent company UHEAA has its share of complaints.
As of December 2018, it has 24 complaints filed against it with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and 85 complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Slow paperwork processing
Several borrowers complained that CornerStone took a long time to process their paperwork. This was a particular problem for those who were on income-based repayment plans, which involves submitting documents about your income each year — one even had to go into forbearance for a few months.
- How to avoid it: Submit your paperwork as early as possible and stay in touch with customer service. If that doesn’t work for you, consider consolidating your loans if you still want to take advantage of federal loan perks. Or refinance with a private lender.
Payments that never go through
Many borrowers also complained about payments not going through — both regular payments and additional payments. Some even reported that their loans became delinquent because of this error. Those who contacted customer service mostly said that the representatives couldn’t do much to help.
- How to avoid it: Consider signing up for automatic payments so there’s less of a chance that a manual payment doesn’t go through. If you notice that a payment hasn’t been processed after a few days, reach out to customer service first to see if they can fix the problem. If not, one customer noted that they were able to get their problem fixed by filing a complaint with the BBB. The CFPB may also be able to step in and help.
What to expect with other student loan servicers
CornerStone might have fewer complaints than other federal loan providers. But it could be difficult to work with if something goes wrong or you want to make changes to your payment plan. In that case, you might want to consider switching servicers by refinancing or consolidating your loans.
To learn more about how student loans work, read our guide.