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Student Loan Assistance

Are you struggling to afford your student loans? Are you having problems with a student loan servicer or debt collector? The Ombudsman's Student Loan Assistance Unit may be able to help.

The Ombudsman's Student Loan Assistance Unit helps borrowers:

  • explore repayment options; 
  • learn about and apply for federal income-driven repayment plans;
  • pursue Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF), including finding out what steps need to be taken (if any) before October 31, 2022 to be considered under the limited waiver opportunity;
  • avoid default or get loans out of default;
  • end wage garnishments, tax refund interceptions, or benefit offsets;
  • resolve billing disputes with loan servicers;
  • obtain loan details and information;
  • stop harassing debt collection calls; and
  • apply (in rare cases) for discharges.

To get help, please submit a Student Loan Help Request. When filling out the request, please describe your student loan situation in as much detail as possible. If you have any questions, please call our Student Loan Helpline at 1-888-830-6277. 

Your request will be reviewed in the order in which it was received. It is very important that you continue to meet any deadlines while you are waiting to hear from us. If your request would be better handled by a different government agency, we will refer you to that agency.

The Attorney General's Office cannot provide you with legal advice or act as your attorney. If you have questions concerning the specific application or interpretation of the law, please consult with a private attorney.

While waiting to hear from us, we encourage you to collect information about your federal student loans by creating an account on the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid (FSA) website at studentaid.gov. Once logged in to your account, you will see a full list of your federal student loans, along with servicer contact information, loan types, interest rates, principal and interest balances, and other information that will help clarify your repayment options. Although private student loans are not tracked by the U.S. Department of Education, they may be listed on your credit report. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies.

How to explore federal loan repayment options on your own

Step 1: Create your FSA ID and log in to studentaid.gov to review information about your loans. 

Step 2: Learn about income-driven repayment plans. Under income-driven repayment plans, payments are based on income and family size and can be as low as $0 per month. Income-driven repayment plans also offer potential interest subsidies and the possibility of loan forgiveness after 20 or 25 years of qualifying payments.

Step 3: If you work for the government or a qualifying nonprofit organization, learn about Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF). These programs have many detailed requirements but enable public servants to receive forgiveness of their remaining loan balance after 10 years of qualifying payments in a qualifying repayment planOn October 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education announced a temporary period in which borrowers can receive credit for payments that did not previously qualify for PSLF or TEPSLF.  However, you may have to take action by October 31, 2022.  Learn more about this time-limited opportunity.

Step 4: Use the U.S. Department of Education’s Loan Repayment Plan Simulator to estimate your monthly payments, the projected total costs, and potential forgiveness amounts under income-driven repayment plans and/or the PSLF program. 

Step 5: Apply for an income-driven repayment plan through studentaid.gov or mail the application to your federal loan servicer with your income documentation.

Step 6: If you do choose to switch to an income-driven repayment plan be sure to recertify your income and family size each year. If you fail to recertify on time, your monthly payment will increase and any unpaid interest will be added to your loan balance. Your servicer will send you a notice about recertification at least once a year. 

Beware of student loan "debt relief" companies

Student loan “debt relief” companies charge fees for helping federal student loan borrowers enroll in income-driven repayment plans, consolidate loans, or get out of default. There is nothing these companies can do for you that you can’t do on your own for free. You can review this U.S. Department of Education advisory on how to spot a student loan "debt relief" scam. If you’ve been deceived by a student loan "debt relief" company, please file a Student Loan Help Request.

U.S. Department of Education Resources

Student Loan Help Request

Additional Resources

 

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