MOHELA Student Loan Servicer Review: What You Should Know
Do you have a student loan with MOHELA? Here's a breakdown of what you need to know.
The Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) collects and tracks payments for federal student loans. The nonprofit company services both federal and private loans.
What Can MOHELA Help Me With?
You should be able to find out if MOHELA is your loan servicer by logging in to your Federal Student Aid account or by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID. You should have been assigned a loan servicer when the U.S. Department of Education disbursed your loan for the first time.
For federal student loans, MOHELA offers the same services other federal loan servicers do. Keep in mind that while the company is there to help you, it may present options that are best for MOHELA, meaning it won’t be able to change how payments are processed or suggest the repayment plan that is most beneficial for you.
Otherwise, here’s what this loan servicer can do for you:
- Get online access to your account: Once you find out that MOHELA is your loan servicer, you can request to open an online account so you can access your statements and pay bills.
- Process payments: You’ll be able to track and make payments through MOHELA. You also can contact the loan servicer to make extra payments and request that they go toward your current balance.
- Request forbearance and deferment: If you need to reduce your monthly payments or pause payments temporarily, you can ask MOHELA to help you do so. That means you’ll be able to remain in good standing with your loans, but know that interest may continue to accrue.
- Sign up for automatic payments: Enrolling in autopay can ensure you’re making on-time payments since they will be deducted from your bank account automatically. Plus, you’ll receive a 0.25% discount on your interest rate.
- Enroll in an income-driven repayment plan: If you want to be put on an income-driven repayment plan, you can go through MOHELA. Doing so means your monthly payments are limited to a certain percentage of your income. An alternative is to apply through your Federal Student Aid account and then recertify your income annually.
Do I Need to Stick With MOHELA Until I’ve Paid Off My Loans?
The Department of Education may transfer federal student loans from one servicer to another. If the Department of Education decides to sign new contracts with other companies and not renew MOHELA’s contract, then you’ll most likely switch servicers. For now, MOHELA is contracted to continue service loans until March 2022.
If and when that happens, it’s a good idea to make sure you keep all records of your transactions and payment history. You can do so by logging in to your account online and downloading your records or requesting copies from MOHELA. Don’t forget to update your contact details, such as your phone number, email and mailing address, so that the new loan servicer can contact you once the loan has been transferred.
You’ll most likely stick with MOHELA until the Department of Education switches servicers or you choose to refinance your loan. If there is a loan servicing transfer, you’ll be notified. You’ll then manage your loan with your new loan servicer.
How Do I Contact MOHELA?
The following are various ways you can reach MOHELA’s customer service department:
Phone: 1-888-866-4352 (Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT and Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT)
Address (general correspondence): 633 Spirit Drive, Chesterfield, MO 63005-1243
Address (payments): Payment addresses vary based on location, so you should call customer service or log in to your online account to find the correct one.
What if I Have a Complaint?
Your best bet is to start by contacting MOHELA customer service to try to resolve the issue. You can file a complaint with the MOHELA ombudsman by writing a formal request. Fax a copy to 1-866-222-7060 or mail it via the general correspondence address (see above).
You can escalate a complaint by contacting the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group, though this should be seen as a last resort. Make sure you fill out all required information on the ombudsman information checklist before contacting the U.S. Department of Education at the following address:
U.S. Department of Education
FSA Ombudsman Group
P.O. Box 1843
Monticello, KY 42633
You’ll want to keep thorough records of any correspondence you have. Be sure to jot down details, including the date, the time and the customer service representative you speak with. Don’t forget to hold on to any emails, statements or letters regarding your student loan account.
How to Switch Loan Servicers
If you want to switch loan servicers, you’ll need to refinance your loan. However, you’ll be refinancing from a federal loan to a private student loan. That means you’ll lose out on benefits such as lower interest rates and income-driven repayment plans. Think carefully about whether you want to make the switch.
When refinancing, first check to see if your financial situation allows you to qualify for the most competitive rates. Private lenders look for those who are the most creditworthy — you’ll typically need a good credit score, a steady income stream and a low debt-to-income ratio.
Once you find out what you may qualify for, you can shop around with multiple lenders to see the rates and terms you can get. That way, you’ll be able to increase your chances of getting the lowest rates for your credit profile, helping you save thousands of dollars in interest charges. If you need a bit of help, consider joining Juno (it’s free), where we help our members negotiate the lowest rates possible.
Sarah Li Cain
Sarah Li Cain is a finance writer and a candidate for the Accredited Financial Counselor designation whose work has appeared in places like Bankrate, Business Insider, Financial Planning Association, Investopedia, Kiplinger, and Redbook. She’s the host of Beyond The Dollar, where she and her guests have deep and honest conversations about money affects their well-being.
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