The plans to overhaul the federal loans servicing system by scaling back the number of contractors that collect student loan debts from nine to one has received mixed reactions from parents and borrowers. The present system has been the subject of numerous complaints, with some companies like Navient even facing lawsuits due to accusations of mishandling loans. To address such inefficiencies, there have been suggestions that the number of companies contracted to service student loans need to be reduced from the nine to just one. In this article, we explore three of the most popular services (Cornerstone, Granite State, and OSLA). This article should aid in the debate on whether the overhaul is actually necessary.
Are Cornerstone Student Loans a Reliable Solution for All Your Financial Problems?
Most of the time, student borrowers don’t have the positive opinions of their loan collection agencies. After all, they have to give up hundreds of dollars every month. However, the loan service provider plays a critical role in the management of student loans. They process paperwork, manage payments, and hopefully work with borrowers in the event that they are unable to make payments. Cornerstone educational loans are one of the most renowned companies in regards to the collection of payments. In the event that you find yourself working with Cornerstone, here are some things you need to know.
First, Cornerstone is a not-for-profit organization, run by the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority, and servicing federal loans nationwide. When it comes to the department of education loans servicing, please note that students do not pick their provider, as the decision is made on their behalf. If Cornerstone is picked as your service provider, you will get a notification from them upon the disbursement of your loan. The company services are restricted to federal loans, and not private ones. Some of the loans covered include:
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans
- Perkins Loans
- Direct Subsidized Loans
- Direct PLUS Loans
- Direct Consolidation Loans
The easiest way to make payments on Corner stone loans and manage debt is through the online portal. While the company lacks a mobile app, their website is easy to use on smartphones. Borrowers can bet started by creating an account by providing a loan account number or social security number. The platform offers a unified and easy way to monitor all your loans, check interest rates, as well as monthly payments. Cornerstone even has a whole section dedicated to information, tips and resources targeting veterans and service members. You are also able to access resources on financial literacy.
Cornerstone loan student loans come with attractive options for making remittances online, through the mail, or over the phone. Please note that the service provider requires only funds directly from your bank account or checks. In other words, borrowers cannot pay using credit cards or cash. To avoid late remittances, it is a good idea to set up automated payments on your account. Automation for a large volume of payments also gives you a reduction of 0.25% on your interest rate.
An important element of assessing the efficacy of a servicing company is the quality of the federal student loans customer service. Cornerstone prides itself on its transparency and integrity. One of the company principles is to prioritize personal attention and service, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach. However, the customer reviews on the service appear mixed with some borrowers complaining about being unable to submit forms through the online platform. However, it is important to note that most of the complaints about the service provider, are issues about student loans in general, and are not unique to Cornerstone.
Are Granite State Student Loans Any Better?
Granite State Management & Resources (GSM&R) is a service provider working as part of the New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation (NHHEAF) Network Organization, which is a conglomeration of three independent non-profit loans serving the organization. The company services both public and federal loans. It also reports the repayment status of borrowers to credit bureaus and assists customers to apply for forbearances and deferments, if necessary. All you need to do to get assistance with granite student loans is contact the customer service team.
GSM&R simplifies the loan repayment process through an online platform. Borrowers can make remittances and apply for forbearances and deferments 24/7. The payment plans offered include income-driven and general. Each of these alternatives has different sets of terms and will impact your monthly payment. The platform has calculators that borrowers can use to figure out the ideal plan.
However, many customer reviews on this platform are negative. Most borrowers complain about communication lapses and mismanagement. Unfortunately, the decision to choose a platform for servicing loans is not in the hands of the borrower.
Benefit from the Experience of OSLA Student Loans
The third loan service provider is the Oklahoma Student Loan Authority, which has been assisting borrowers to make repayments on their student loans since 1972. The provider mostly benefits the State of Oklahoma and its students who have accessed federal education loans. However, of late, company has opened its doors to any borrower assigned from any state. Those with private loans cannot use the platform.
Some of the benefits of OLSA student loans include easy access to standard loan servicing requests through online platforms. You also get quick links to the Department of Education, including the page on direct loan consolidation. Another notable benefit of OSLA loans includes its highly praised customer service.
However, OSLA, along with other private entities servicing federal student loans, has come under great criticism. In fact, proposals from the Education Secretary have been to streamline the servicing terms by eliminating all, but one student loan service provider. While this proposal is yet to be implemented, it is gaining ground. While such a shift would ensure a more standardized approach to customer service and improve efficiency, it would also mean that borrowers are stuck with only one option. Whether we remain with the current model or shift to one provider of wall street journal student loans, it is evident the customer service of loan servicing could use some improvement.