There’s always a lot going on when it comes to student loan servicing, and it can be hard to keep track of everything. Here are some of the latest developments impacting student loan borrowers:
Great Lakes Higher Education and NelNet. Last year, Great Lakes and Nelnet – two of the largest student loan servicers in the country – announced that they would be merging (Nelnet purchased Great Lakes for $150 million). The merger should be completed this year, and in the meantime, I am already seeing some Great Lakes accounts being migrated over to Nelnet. If you are a Great Lakes customer, you will likely be switching over to Nelnet before the end of this year, so just be ready for that. Borrowers may have to re-establish their payment arrangements (such as auto-debit).
ECSI, a servicer that primarily handles institutional loans and Perkins loans on behalf of colleges and universities, is under investigation by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for loan balance and billing irregularities. The investigation is ongoing.
FedLoan Servicing/PHEAA is locked in a legal battle with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office for widespread errors and delays involving the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, income-driven repayment, and TEACH Grants. The Attorney General’s Office recently defeated FedLoan’s Motion to Dismiss in Suffolk County Superior Court, allowing the case to continue. This is good news and an interim victory for Massachusetts student loan borrowers.
Studentloans.gov is working again. Last year, the Dept. of Education’s web portal, studentloans.gov, was having some major long-term problems. Specifically, the feature that allows borrowers applying for (or renewing) income-driven repayment plans to link to the IRS to upload their income tax information had been down for months, forcing people to use paper applications. That, in turn, caused processing backlogs for several student loan servicers. So far this year, the feature has been repaired and has been running smoothly.
Stay tuned for more updates.