What You Need to Know About the Best Student Loan Servicers

Best Student Loan Servicers

If you’ve taken out loans for schooling then you already know that your student loan server is something of a necessary evil. Since they handle all of the minutiae of your loans, it can be hard not to take things personally.

Not all of these companies are created equally, however, and some are much more willing to help out than others. While some companies have fallen under fire for predatory practices in recent years, not everyone is simply preying on the borrowers under them.

If you’re trying to find out how to handle your student loan server, you’re in the right place. We’ll go after what they do and don’t handle, and then give you some information on who is the easiest to work with based on the data available.



Best overall:

Since you don’t get to choose your loan servicer, they’re assigned by the Department of Education, you really will get little say in the matter.

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What Does a Student Loan Server Do?

If you’re not already aware of what your service does for you, the whole thing can seem kind of confusing. Loan servers are a middleman for your loans, even if you took out a federal loan you’ll be receiving your services through a third party company.

A good company is there to help you ensure that you get your debt repaid, allowing you to get out from underneath the burden in a timely fashion without having anything destroyed in the process.

There are a few main ways which one of the companies will be assisting you.

Collecting and Keeping Track of Payments

Your servicer is likely to contact you as soon as you’ve had your first loan paid out. You’ll want to ensure that you sign up with their website right away, the sooner you get on top of things the less trouble you’ll have further down the line.

Your online account will let you keep track of how much cash you’ve pulled and how much interest has accrued on the loan even while you’re still attending class. You can use this online account to pay off built-up interest before it’s added to your total at the end of the grace period and prevent it from compounding.

Once you’ve completed your schooling you can sign up for automatic payments, you’ll just need to make sure that you have enough money left over each month to pay it off for obvious reasons.

Aid You in Switching Repayment Plans

The standard format for student loans takes place over ten years, with one hundred and twenty payments in total. This is what you’ll be put on unless you make other arrangements before you exit school.

Your servicer can help you figure out if you’re eligible for an income based repayment plan or not, which will keep things from going over a certain percentage of your income.

If you can make the switch, and do so, your application will be reprocessed and you’ll need to submit to an annual checkup on your income in order to make sure that you’re still eligible for this plan.

Customizing Your Payment Scheme

What Does a Student Loan Server Do

If you end up with extra money, and hopefully you should with a good degree, you may want to pay off your loans in a differing order. Some will have higher interest, or other factors which make them a higher priority when it comes to repayment.

Paying off loans with a higher interest rate more quickly can save you quite a bit of money in the long run, so if you have the extra income you definitely want to take a look into seeing whether you can manage to pull it off.

Most servicers will let you choose where to target the extra money you’re kicking in. You can also contact your servicer to leave them instructions on how the extra money needs to be handled.

Processing Requests for Forbearance or Deferment

We all know the struggle, sometimes you simply don’t have the money for your loans on top of rent, utilities, and daily living expenses. When this happens, you’ll be working with your servicer.

You’ll want to call them as soon as you’re sure that you won’t be able to pay, the earlier you take care of things the better.

Deferment will save you more money, as it will keep interest from building up during the period of time while the loan is deferred. It’s also not available to all recipients of services, in which case you may have to go with forbearance.

Your servicer will be the one who helps you figure out exactly what your options are in this area.

Certifying for Loan Forgiveness

In certain cases, you can also apply for loan forgiveness. While it’s not available to everyone this option will allow you to gain forgiveness for your student loans.

Applying for one of these programs may mean that you need to change out the servicer you’re working with as well.

If you think that you’re on track for one of these benefits, then you’ll need to make sure that the proper paperwork is filed, that you actually qualify, and whether your loans are eligible. Your servicer can be a great boon in this instance.

Figuring Out Who Your Student Loan Servicer Is

Figuring Out Who Your Student Loan Servicer Is

If you’re not on top of things, you may not even know who your student loan servicer is. Thankfully, it’s not all that difficult of a task to manage.

The first thing you need to do is register your FSA ID if you haven’t logged in to a Federal Aid Website since 2015. This will allow you to get the details of your loan, and you can also use it to apply for differing payment plans.

After this you’ll want to log into the National Student Loan Data System. Visit the website and enter the page labeled “Financial Aid Review.” After this you’ll be taken to a Terms & Conditions page and then finally prompted to enter your FSA ID in order to enter.

Underneath the next page, titled “Aid Summary” you’ll see your loans. Underneath the details for the loans you’ll be able to figure out who your servicer is and begin correspondence appropriately if you haven’t already.

Make sure you contact the company, chances are you’re going to be working closely with them for some time to come.

So, Who’s the Best Student Loan Servicer?

Since you don’t get to choose your loan servicer, they’re assigned by the Department of Education, you really will get little say in the matter.

That said, you can still figure out if you’re likely to have problems depending on who you’re working with. The following table shows the amount of complaints which each server had in the period of March 1 through August 31 of 2016

Navient Solutions, Inc.812
Great Lakes152
ACS Education Services117
ECMC Group, Inc.48
Utah System of Higher Education39
Heartland Payment Systems37
EdFinancial Services21

Navient, as usual, had the highest number of complaints by quite a bit. This really isn’t all that new, the company has a long and storied history of bungling loans and some pretty bad practices overall. They’ve faced quite a few lawsuits over the years and if you have the misfortune to be working with them then you’ll want to be extra careful.

From a purely data-driven standpoint, it’s interesting to see how all of these stack up against each other. After all, since your servicer is chosen for you and the only way to work out of it is a complete refinance, it’s important to ensure that you know who you’re working with.

Oddly enough, this may all be something of a moot point soon, the US is rapidly moving towards a system by which only a single private entity will be awarded the ability to service student loans and the ramifications of that have yet to be seen.

The Refinancing Option

If you find yourself particularly unhappy with your loan servicer then there is a way to ensure that you no longer have to deal with them: refinancing student loans can have a number of advantages but the big one for most people is going to be the fact that you no longer have to deal with whichever company you feel has wronged you.

It’s not an option that’s available to everyone, but if you have the following you may be able to qualify:

  • A credit score of 650 or above
  • Steady income
  • A cosigner

Some combination of two of the three is usually enough, but the better everything looks from the bank’s end the lower the risk and the lower your interest rates will be.

In addition to ditching whichever servicer has irked you, there are quite a few other advantages to refinancing.

Lower Interest Rates

Since you’ll be consolidating all of your loans in one place and having them “paid” for you, you’ll be able to lower the total interest rate you’ll be paying. It also makes things easier since you’ll be repaying a single loan instead of the numerous loans you might have pulled over the course of your college attendance.

You’ll have the option of either fixed or variable rates in most cases. A fixed rate will remain the same over time, while variable rates will usually start lower but can be changed as things go on.

Lower Monthly Payments

While almost all student loans come with a ten year lifespan, if you decide to refinance and go with a bank you can easily end up with a plan that lets you pay things off either faster or slower. Five and twenty year plans aren’t uncommon, depending on the bank that you decide to refinance through.

Of course, if you decide to lengthen the amount of time you’re paying back the loan you’ll end up paying more even with a much lower interest rate. In the short term, however, that extra couple hundred bucks a month might be just what you need to make rent and keep the power going.

Release an Old Cosigner

If your parents are still on the hook for your student loans, then you may be able to get them off entirely if you’ve kept your credit good and landed a decent job. Once someone has been released it will allow them to improve their credit score.

Some banks will automatically release an old cosigner if you make payments on time for a few months.

This is highly dependent on the bank, however, so you’ll want to look into who can work with you on this one.

Easier Management

With the right refinancing options you’ll be able to consolidate all of your loans. Student loan servicers often buy and sell loans, and in extreme cases you can end up switching the place that your payments end up on a nearly constant basis.

Refinance through the right company and you’ll just be making a single payment, to the same institution, rather than having to deal with the headache of multiple loans spread across different servicers.


Student loan servicers might be one of the most frustrating financial institutions around but you don’t have to be entirely at their mercy. A good servicer can be a boon, of course, but time and time again people find themselves at the mercy of these businesses. Try to avoid it, and consider your options, and you’ll be much better off for it.


  1. https://www.nerdwallet.com/
  2. https://s3.amazonaws.com/
  3. https://studentloans.net/
  4. https://studentaid.ed.gov/
  5. https://studentloanhero.com/