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What to expect with FedLoan student loan servicing

How to manage repayments and avoid common problems.

FedLoan, the arm of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) that handles federal student loans, might be the most well-known student loan servicer out there.

It has a contract with the Department of Education to handle applications for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), so there’s a chance you’ve dealt with it even if it isn’t your servicer. While it might be popular, it’s faced its share of criticism for mishandling parts of the repayment process.

How repayments work with FedLoan

You have several options to make your student loan repayments through FedLoan, from paying online to snail mail.

  • Tip: Have a check or your bank account information on hand — you need your routing and account number to sign up for direct debit or make any kind of online payment for the first time.
Direct debit

FedLoan recommends direct debit because it qualifies you for a 0.25% interest rate discount. It’s also the easiest way to pay off your loan — you don’t have to remember to take the time each month to make a repayment. Generally, FedLoan charges your account within two business days of your loan’s due date.

You can also make additional repayments each month through direct debit by indicating how much extra you’d like to pay when you complete your direct debit application. Any extra amount you pay will be spread out across all of your loans with the same due date.

To make extra repayments on a specific loan, you’ll need to do it manually online or through a special arrangement, which we’ll discuss in a bit.

Online

Making a payment online is similar to signing up for direct debit. The main difference is that you have to manually do it every month.

To make a payment, log in to your account and choose which day you’d like to have your payment go through. Your payment should be processed within two days of the date you select.

Mobile app

If you download the FedLoan mobile app through the Apple App Store or Google Play, you can make a payment using that instead.

The main difference between paying through the app and online is that you can’t schedule a payment ahead of time — it’s effective the day you submit it. It can take up to two business days to show up in your account.

Over the phone

Schedule a payment up to 60 days in advance by calling 800-699-2908. You can have FedLoan save your bank account information so you don’t need to provide it each time.

You can make a payment any time — day or night — by using its automated phone system. Make sure you have your 10-digit account number and date of birth on hand to verify your identity.

By mail

If you want to pay with a check or money order, FedLoan also accepts repayments by mail. Make it payable to FedLoan Servicing and include your FedLoan account number or Social Security number in the memo line.

FedLoan recommends mailing your check or money order to the following address at least five to seven business days before your loan’s due date:

Department of Education
FedLoan Servicing
PO Box 790234
St. Louis, MO 63179-0234

If you send multiple checks, it’ll appear as one larger withdrawal from your bank account.

Third-party bill-pay service

If you have an app or other service that handles your monthly bill payments, you can also use that to cover your student loans. The downside is that you won’t be able to get the 0.25% rate discount that comes with direct debit. You can’t use it to make additional repayments on your student loans, either.

Follow your bill-pay service’s instructions to set up payments. Make sure it’s aware that all payments that fall on a weekend or holiday are due by the business day before.

Can I make extra repayments?

Yes, you can make extra repayments on your loan without any additional charge. FedLoan calls these targeted payments. Making a targeted payment isn’t as simple as making a standard repayment. You have to tell FedLoan which loans you want your extra payments to go toward.

You have two options when it comes to making a targeted payment: online or through a special arrangement.

Online payment

To make extra payments online, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your account online.
  2. Click Specify Loan Payment Amount.
  3. Next to Payment Amount, enter the amount you want to pay toward each individual loan. You must make at least your monthly minimum payment.
  4. Click Make a Payment.
Special arrangement

FedLoan recommends that you make extra repayments online. But if you can’t, you can also provide written instructions by mail, fax or email. In your letter, include:

  • Your name
  • Your account number
  • The disbursement date and loan type for each loan you’d like to make an extra payment on
  • How much you’d like to pay extra on each loan

Reach out to FedLoan’s customer service team for more personalized instructions.

  • Why not just make a larger payment?

Paying more than your loan balance puts your loan into what FedLoan calls paid ahead status. Here, your payment applies to your future bills. With this method, you can still save on interest and get out of debt faster — you’ll have paid off a future bill before the interest could add up.

But you won’t be able to save as much as you would with targeted payments, which allow you to pay down your high-interest loans first.

How to contact customer service

There are four main ways to contact customer service: by phone, email, mail or fax. You can also get answers to frequently asked questions by going to the FedLoan website and clicking Contact Us in the main navigation bar.

Over the phone

  • FedLoan’s toll-free number: 800-699-2908
  • FedLoan’s international number: 717-720-1985
  • Text telephone (TTY): After calling one of the above numbers, dial 711

FedLoan’s phone lines are open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.

By email

Log in to your online account and follow FedLoan’s instructions to send an email.

Send mail

Depending on what you want to send, FedLoan uses several mailing addresses:

FedLoan paymentsDepartment of Education
FedLoan Servicing
P.O. Box 530210
Atlanta, GA 30353-0210
Direct debit application formsFedLoan Servicing
P.O. Box 3661
Harrisburg, PA 17105-3661
General correspondenceFedLoan Servicing
P.O. Box 69184
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9184
Credit disputesFedLoan Servicing Credit
P.O. Box 60610
Harrisburg, PA 17106-0610
Correspondence related to consolidationFedLoan Consolidation Department
P.O. Box 69186
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9186
Correspondence with the Office of Consumer AdvocacyPennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency
The Office of Consumer Advocacy
1200 North 7th Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102

By fax

You can fax documents to FedLoan at 717-720-1628.

How to refinance your FedLoan student loan

You can refinance your student loan by applying to pay off your loan with another from a private lender. Why refinance? If you’ve been struggling with FedLoan, refinancing is one of two ways you can switch loan servicers.

Before you refinance, keep in mind that you stand to lose several benefits that you can only get with a federal loan, including income-based repayment plans, eligibility for forgiveness programs and a wide range of deferment and forbearance options. And you might not qualify for a rate as low as the one you already have.

How to refinance your federal student loans

How else can I switch servicers?

If you have FedLoan as a servicer, your only other option for switching is to consolidate your federal loans. This involves merging all of your loans into a federal Direct Consolidation Loan with a new payment plan.

This allows you to keep the benefits that come with federal loans — and may even open you up to a few more. But you’ll only be able to pick between federal loan servicers.

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 7.74%
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)
1.74% 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
1.74% to 6.15%
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
1.86% 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
1.74% to 5.74% 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

How to avoid common problems with FedLoan

As of December 2018, FedLoan has over 920 complaints filed against it with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and over 670 complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Here are the top issues students ran into when working with this servicer:

Qualifying for public service forgiveness

FedLoan broke the news a few times in 2018 after nearly all of the first round of applicants for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program were rejected.

What happened?

The US Government Accountability Office conducted a report that showed the Department of Education hadn’t properly informed FedLoan staff of changes to the program. This affected the definition of a qualifying employer and qualifying payments, as well as general procedural changes. As a result, PSLF applicants who had followed directions to a T were getting denied.

How to avoid it

Don’t just reach out to FedLoan if you’re interested in applying for forgiveness — contact the Department of Education. If you’ve already been rejected, review the reasons why and work to fix it.

In some cases, this might mean making extra repayments at a qualifying job on an income-based repayment plan. You could still be eligible for forgiveness — it just might not happen this year.

You can also consider applying to other forgiveness programs.

Updating or switching payment plans

Another top complaint against FedLoan is how difficult it can be to switch repayment plans. Some borrowers complained it took too long, while others reported errors in the transition. Many stated it took several calls to customer service to find someone to walk them through the process or resolve their problem.

How to avoid it

Reach out to customer service before you switch your repayment plan to see if they can walk you through the process. Don’t wait around if you notice something off — reach out right away. It might take some extra time, but it could end up saving you money or giving you more affordable monthly repayments.

How do I submit a complaint?

You can submit a complaint through PHEAA’s Office of Consumer Advocacy. You can reach out by phone at 800-213-9827 on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Or, send a letter to the mailing address for the PHEAA Office of Consumer Advocacy, listed above.

If PHEAA can’t resolve the issue, you may want to file a complaint with the CFPB or the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman.

Tips to pay off your loan faster through FedLoan

  • Pay off high-interest loans first. High interest loans gather interest at a faster rate. Pying these off first can save you more than treating all loans equal.
  • Consider a shorter term. Reach out to FedLoan to change your loan term to the standard repayment plan or another shorter term to speed up the process.
  • Tell FedLoan how to apply extra repayments. Unless you specify that you want your repayments to go toward the loan principal, FedLoan uses any additional repayments to put your loan in “paid ahead” status, which won’t save you much.

How do I apply for deferment or forbearance with FedLoan?

Applying for deferment or forbearance involves completing and submitting a form to FedLoan. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Go to the FedLoan website.
  2. Click Loan Basics in the main navigation bar.
  3. Click Postponing Payments, then click Deferments & Forbearances.
  4. Scroll down to Take Our Eligibility Quiz and click Get Started.
  5. Sign in to your account by entering your username and password.
  6. Follow the instructions to figure out which type of deferment or forbearance you might qualify for.

To get step-by-step instructions on how to complete common deferment forms, check out our guide.

How do I change my repayment plan with FedLoan?

Changing your repayment plan involves completing and submitting a form to FedLoan. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Go to the FedLoan website.
  2. Click Loan Basics in the main menu.
  3. Click Repayment Plans, then click the type of plan you’d like to switch to.
  4. Click How to apply? and then click Apply Online.
  5. Sign in to your account by entering your username and password.
  6. Follow the instructions to download the form.

To get step-by-step instructions on how to fill out income-driven repayment plan forms, check out our guide.

What to expect with other student loan servicers

Choose a loan provider from the list below for more information on its services.

Bottom line

FedLoan might not have the strongest reputation, but it’s one of the most user-friendly federal loan servicers out there. If you’re not happy with it, though, you can always switch by consolidating your loans or refinancing with a private lender.

Check out our guide to student loans to learn more about how they work and what your other options are.

Frequently asked questions

What if my payment is due on a weekend or holiday?

If your payment is due on a weekend or bank holiday, FedLoan asks that you submit it by the earliest business day before your due date.

I made a payment today, but it isn’t showing up on my account. What’s going on?

It can sometimes take a few days for a processed payment to appear on your account. If it’s still not there after a few days, contact customer service.

I’m currently not in the United States. How can I contact FedLoan?

You can reach FedLoan by calling 717-720-1985. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to pay for an international call, so you might want to reach out via email by signing into your account instead.

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