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NASFAA Reaches Out on Long Loan Servicer Call Center Wait Times

By Maria Carrasco, NASFAA Staff Reporter

With the unprecedented event of tens of millions of borrowers returning to repayment this month, borrowers and aid offices have raised concerns of long wait times trying to reach student loan servicers’ call centers. NASFAA is aware of the issue and has previously flagged this as an issue to the Department of Education (ED) for months

Multiple loan servicers have posted messages on their websites and online portals warning borrowers that they may experience longer than normal wait times to speak with customer service representatives at call centers. Additionally, there have been other technical issues, with some servicers having website and call center outages.

Rohit Chopra, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), told NPR his agency is watching loan servicers closely and collecting data on how much time borrowers spend on hold. 

The long wait times come at an already busy time for the department, as it implements its new income-driven repayment (IDR) plan, the Saving on A Valuable Education (SAVE) repayment plan, prepares for the release of the 2024-25 FAFSA, and gears up for a negotiated rulemaking process to implement Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, which was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Additionally, ED in April announced its new contracts with five companies for federal student loan servicing. As a result, some borrowers may have had their loans transferred to different loan servicers. And as federal budget negotiations continue, there are concerns that a lack of funding could also impact ED’s ability to reach borrowers. 

Given long wait times to reach servicer representatives by phone, NASFAA recommends that borrowers and financial aid administrators ensure the information they’re looking for is not on studentaid.gov, or their own loan servicer’s website before reaching out to servicers. We also recommend communicating by email or using live chat features, rather than contacting their servicer’s call center. This will help reduce phone call waiting time for borrowers who must speak with a representative.

Aid offices can also use NASFAA’s Student Loan Repayment Toolkit, which has easy-to-use resources designed to help institutions and aid offices communicate with borrowers as they begin transitioning back into repayment. The toolkit includes a variety of components, such as social media posts, one-page infographics, and videos that can be distributed through email, social media, postal mail, flier distribution, or other methods.

 

Publication Date: 9/14/2023


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