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We asked about your student loans and you answered

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A few months ago, we took a look at complaints and other input from private student loan borrowers. Many of you told us about stumbling blocks you face when trying to pay down your loans more quickly. In particular, we frequently hear that the process to allocate an extra payment to your loan with the highest interest rate – generally the best way to reduce your overall interest expense – is hard to navigate.

We wanted to help student loan borrowers who are trying to pay down higher-rate loans, so we created a sample letter that borrowers can send to their student loan servicer. This letter tells the loan servicer that any future payment greater than the amount due should be applied to the highest-rate loan.

We also asked student loan servicers to tell us more about their policies when borrowers are looking to pay off their loans more quickly. Many of them responded and here’s some of what we found:

  • Some servicers told us they have changed their policies so that extra payments are allocated to individual loans with the highest interest rate.
  • When making payments through your bank’s online bill pay service, any written instructions you provide to your service may not be forwarded on.
  • Some servicers will allow you to provide standing instructions on how to allocate payments to your account, so you can avoid making calls and writing letters each and every month .
  • Servicers do not seem to be proactively reaching out to consumers who regularly make extra payments on ways to provide instructions.

Check out the full summary of what we heard and tell us your story about your payment processing experience. If you are facing a specific problem with your student loan servicer, you can also submit a complaint online or by calling (855) 411-2372.

We recently finalized a rule to supervise certain nonbank student loan servicers to make sure they’re following the law.

For answers to questions about student loans, check out Ask CFPB and our other work for students.

  • Dianne

    First, I would like to say thank you and keep up the great work helping the mass consumers, God knows we need someone to look after our concerns. Second, I really wanted to mention the biggest problem with education in this country, the astronomical cost of college. We are a middle income family with yearly wages of $107,000 before taxes. We
    are hoping to send our son to college next year so have been using the
    college net calculators to get an idea of what we are facing. My son
    has worked hard to maintain a 4.0 GPA taking all AP and honors classes
    and all the while making outstanding contributions to his community and
    school. He really sacrificed time with friends & fun to qualify for
    a good top college. Our hopes of sending him to a top college in his
    field of bioengineering for which he has worked so hard to qualify have
    been completely dashed. Most of the college financial net calculators say that
    after financial aid and college scholarships have been applied, we will
    have to take out parent plus direct loans for anywhere between $23,000
    and $40,000 for each of his four years at school along with my son also
    taking out federal student loans of $2,000 to $5,000 each year. As
    parents, this means we will not be able to contribute to our 401K for
    four years (we are 57) and even doing this (only $17,000 to 401K per year) I
    cannot see how we can possibly afford to make the college loan payments and
    still be able to pay our mortgage, medical insurance, food, car
    payments, or anything else. Anyway, I feel my son has wasted his youth
    and gave up too much of his young life to make good grades to try to qualify
    for colleges he/we can’t afford. He might as well have just spent less
    time studying for perfect scores and took more time to enjoy being young with
    his friends. Wasted talent and wasted time to send this boy to a
    bottom tier college where he cannot reach his full potential due to lack
    of courses, lack of facilities, lack of access to research, lack of internships etc.

    Is anyone looking into why these not-for-profit schools (Stanford, Colby,
    Cornell etc.) have almost doubled their tuition over the last 10 years? Where is all this tuition money going? How can Europe send their kids to college for free while the USA cannot?

    • Guest

      Because Europe doesn’t let the rich not pay appropriate taxes which is why they have superior education and healthcare which are free to their citizens. The US so corrupt and only favors corporations over their citizens. Thats why in 2005 the Republicans passed their Bankruptcy Law (which is unconstitutional) which made high interest corporate student loans not have any consumer protections like bankruptcy protection for those who are too poor to pay. In short, this place sucks.

  • marcie

    Holy cow!! $107,000 is middle income?
    I’m poorer than I thought.
    Family of 6 with $28,000 income per yr trying to pay $82K student loan at 9.17%!
    I have lost ALL hope!

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