Financial aid—from application through the repayment of your loans—has a lot of steps. With everything that you are managing on this college journey, you may not be aware that there are FREE RESOURCES available to provide help and guidance along the way. This help is available to you from the time you begin the financial aid process through your period of repayment (if you have student loans).
Here are some places to go if you need help with the financial aid process.
If you are applying for federal financial aid and need help completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), you don’t need to go it alone. You can contact the U.S. Department of Education at 1-800-433-3243.
If you are having issues with your FAFSA® or questions about how to submit your information (or make corrections/changes), your financial aid office can be a great resource. If they are participating in the federal aid programs, they have completed required training, meaning they are prepared to help!
If your school requires other financial aid applications, like the CSS Profile®, the financial aid office is prepared to help you with that as well.
Set up an appointment with your office and write down some questions beforehand. You want to make sure you get all the answers you need to finish your aid applications.
When you’re applying for student loans, you want to go directly to the source for help. Here’s who to call.
Completing the FAFSA® means you’ve applied for Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans. However, with the FAFSA® you did not automatically apply for Federal PLUS loan (Graduate or Parent). You will need to log into StudentLoans.gov with your FSA ID and complete a separate application for these loans if interested.
If you have questions about federal student loans, or need help completing some of the additional paperwork (like the Master Promissory Note), you can call the Federal Student Loan Support Center at 1-800-557-7394.
When you are applying for private student loans, you want to make sure you have the contact numbers for your potential lenders. Do your research; read all the terms and conditions of each loan, and give them a call if you have any questions. Research your private student loan options before you apply. You definitely want to get clarity on any questions you may have before you assume any private student loan debt.
When it comes to questions about receiving your aid, your school’s financial aid office is your best resource. Make an appointment and have your questions ready. Here are some commonly asked questions:
If you have questions regarding a private student loan, you will need to contact your lender.
Look for a listed contact from organization that awarded you the scholarship. They may be able to walk you through the terms of the scholarship and answer any questions you may have.
Each different type of loan will have a different organization to contact. Here are some of the common ones:
You will want to contact your loan servicer. This is the organization that has communicated to you about your loan through email and/or mail. If you don’t know who your loan servicer is, you can always log into your My Federal Student Aid account to review your borrowing history and determine your servicer.
If you have specific questions about Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or if you need help completing the PSLF Employment Certification Form (to see if you qualify for PSLF), you should contact FedLoan Servicing.
If you have specific questions about a Total and Permanent Disability Discharge (TPD) of an existing loan, you should contact the U.S. Department of Education’s TPD servicer, Nelnet. There are several ways you can reach them. If you click the link above, you can contact them via chat or email, or you have the option to call them directly at 1-888-303-7818.
If you are interested in consolidating your federal student loans (combining some or all of your federal student loans into one loan), you will need to go to StudentLoans.gov, sign in with your FSA ID and complete the student loan consolidation application. If you need help with this process, you should contact the Federal Student Loan Consolidation Center at 1-800-557-7392.
You will need to contact the lender(s) through which you obtained the loan(s). Make sure each time you make decisions on your private student loans (such as postponing payments or releasing a cosigner), you ask your lender to explain all the applicable terms and conditions to you.
Private student loan refinancing is another option for consolidating both private and federal student loans. Just like the private student loan process, you will need to find the lender you would like to work with.
One place to start is StudentLoanConsolidator.com, a service offered by Edvisors. You can check your eligibility to work with certain lenders who offer private student loan refinance options. Any questions you have through this process can be answered by the lender you are working with—at any time in the process. If you have questions before you choose a lender, that’s okay! Each lender will have a place on their website outlining how to contact them.
Defaulting on your student loans can be problematic, but there are ways to get back on track and fix the issue. It will take some time, and it will take some work on your part, but don’t give up!
The very best advice you can receive? Call your student loan servicer immediately! They can let you know about your options.
You do have some options to get out of default. You may be able to rehabilitate your loan, or even consolidate your loan out of default status. It is in your best interest to start the process as soon as you can. You can reach the federal student loan Default Resolution Group by phone at 1-800-621-3115.
If you default on a private student loan, you need to contact your lender. Sometimes lenders will transfer your loan to collections, meaning your loan servicer may have changed. You will need to contact your current loan servicer, the one who is likely calling you or sending you bills, to discuss your options to resolve the default.
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