Resolving Disputes

Below are some steps you can take to resolve your loan dispute. You should first identify your loan problem, and then contact your loan servicer.

Identify Your Loan Problem

Use the following list of common problems to help you identify exactly what type of problem you are having with your loan and what you should do to prepare to solve it.

IF: You believe you’ve made all of your payments on time, but it looks like your account balance might be wrong.

THEN: Check your payment history, gather the documents necessary to show what payments you’ve made, and contact your loan servicer to find out how to submit the proof.

IF: You believe you’ve made all of your payments on time, but your loan is in default.

THEN: Gather the documents necessary to prove that your payments were made on time, and contact your loan servicer to find out how to submit your proof.

IF: You believe your loan servicer has reported inaccurate information to the credit bureaus.

THEN: File a consumer dispute with the bureaus. Contact the three national credit bureaus in writing to tell them what information you believe is inaccurate:

Learn how to get a free copy of your credit report.

IF: You completed bankruptcy but are still getting loan repayment bills.

THEN: It is unlikely that you are eligible to have your loan discharged through bankruptcy. If you filed for bankruptcy after October 7, 1998, your loan cannot automatically be discharged. Find out what happens to your federal student loans when you declare bankruptcy.

IF: You are not the person listed in the loan records.

THEN: You will need to provide proof of your identity. Contact your loan servicer to find out what documents are needed and how you should present them.

Get more information about common reasons for loan disputes.


Contact Your Loan Servicer

You’ve identified your problem and are ready to contact your loan servicer. To deal effectively with your loan servicer, keep in mind the tips below.

  • Keep careful notes of all conversations you have. Follow up in writing so you have a physical record of what has been said and done.
  • Request a copy of your customer service history; some loan servicers make available copies of the notes that customer service representatives make on your account.
  • When you speak with someone on the phone, make a note of whom you speak to and when, and what was said. When you use mail, keep a copy of your letter and of any replies you receive.
  • Save the originals of all receipts, bills, letters, and e-mails regarding your account. Provide copies of the originals if you are asked for them. Send letters via certified mail, with a return receipt requested.
  • Don’t let the emotion of the moment get to you. If you are not getting a proper response to your questions, calmly explain again what information or resolution you are seeking.
  • Be polite and courteous, but don’t be afraid to give the detail of any incident and to state your concerns. Write down the facts in the order they took place and stick to what is relevant. Include important details such as your account number at the top of your letter.
  • Ask for a response in a reasonable time, and be sure to tell the customer service representative how you can be reached.

Problem not solved? Complete the Self-Resolution Checklist to assure yourself that you have done everything you can. If you are still not satisfied, you might wish to contact the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group to help you resolve your dispute. Contact the Ombudsman Group only as a last resort; and first, be sure to get prepared before seeking help.