Watch for Student Loan Errors

Some loan servicers may be dropping the ball on keeping you up-to-date on how much you may owe.

(Image credit: (C) Sasa Djelic, All right Reserved ((C) Sasa Djelic, All right Reserved (Photographer) - [None])

If you’re paying off student debt, you may not be able to rely on the company that manages your loan to help you select the best repayment option—or even give you accurate information about how much you owe.

A recent report by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General found that the companies the department pays to manage and collect payments on federal student loans—known as loan servicers—failed to provide borrowers with accurate information about repayment options. Some also miscalculated payment amounts for borrowers.

Borrowers should keep track of the balance, payment history, loan servicer and repayment status for each loan. Before consolidating federal student loans or switching repayment plans, visit www.studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/understand/plans (opens in new tab) to confirm information you’ve received from your loan servicer.

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If you find an error or have other problems with your loan servicer, file a complaint on its website. If you don’t get a response, file a complaint with the Department of Education at https://feedback.studentaid.ed.gov (opens in new tab). Depending on where you live, you may also be able to get help from a state student loan ombudsman.

Kaitlin Pitsker
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Pitsker joined Kiplinger in the summer of 2012. Previously, she interned at the Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse, N.Y., and with Chronogram magazine in Kingston, N.Y. She holds a BS in magazine journalism from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.