4 Ways to Protect Yourself from Student Loan Servicers
Since 1985, the cost of college has skyrocketed to a point well above what average inflation would imply. State governments provide less funding every year, leaving students to absorb a larger chunk of the cost. Many of these young scholars take on tremendous debt just to make it to graduation.
The federal government relies on private companies to manage millions of student loan accounts every year. Last month, we talked about one such company, Navient, and their legal battle with the with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We’ll be revisiting the topic of student loans this month as we take a look at how to protect yourself from dishonest student loan providers.
1. Do Your Homework
Students should do their homework and consider the magnitude of the of debt before they borrow. If you’re planning on taking out a loan, conduct your own research. Don’t rely on your loan servicer as the exclusive source for all of your financial information.
Seek out alternative sources for impartial facts, such as the Department of Education, the National Consumer Law Center, or the Institute for College Access and Success.
2. Exercise Due Diligence and Follow up Frequently
Student Loan Servicers are responsible for millions of accounts. Such large organizations contain many moving parts, and things often fall between the cracks. Whenever you submit a form for processing, don’t immediately assume that your servicer will handle things with care or expedience. Make sure to call back at least once a week to check in on the progress, even if they’ve told you that there could be a long handling time.
If it seems like they’re dragging their feet, feel free to escalate the problem to a supervisor or file a dispute.
3. Know What to Do When Disputes Arise
Whether due to poor training or lack of ability, most customer service agents are ill-equipped to resolve most issues. If you’re worried that your problem isn’t receiving proper attention, don’t ever be afraid to escalate an issue to a manager or other supervisor. You might end up having better luck with a more informed, senior staff member.
You can also file a dispute with outside agencies, such as the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the U.S. Department of Education, and your state Attorney General.
If you do have a dispute, make sure to file it in writing so that you have a record.
4. Retain Records and Call Logs
One point that many students fail to remember is to keep records. Even if your student loan servicer is one of the good ones, you can’t rely on them to always have your accounts readily accessible. Make sure to keep documents handy for future reference.
Maintain a record of all paper correspondence and utilize certified mail. If you speak to an agent over the phone, remember to keep good notes about the call. Include the time, date, name of the agent, and the subject of the call. These records will be crucial if you plan on dealing with an outside agency to handle a dispute. It’s critical that you keep track of everything so that, should an error come up, you can protect yourself.
Sweeney Law, P.A. Represents Consumers with Student Loan Servicer Disputes
Brendan A. Sweeney, Esq., of Sweeney Law, P.A., The Florida Debt Warrior, represents consumers that have issues with their student loans, including counseling and litigation. If you have any student loan issues, contact Sweeney Law, P.A. at 954-951-8727 immediately to protect your rights.