Note that the government is allowing an interest-free pause for repayment on most federal student loans through the end of September 2020 to help ease the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Many other lenders and servicers are also offering relief options during this time. Check out our Student Loan Hero Coronavirus Information Center for more.
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The Department of Education is in charge of issuing federal loans to college students, but once repayment rolls around, they often rely on third-party servicers to collect the monthly payments. If you have a federal student loan, it may be serviced by the Oklahoma Student Loan Authority (OSLA).
Here are a few things you should know about OSLA and what they do for student loan borrowers:
- How the Oklahoma Student Loan Authority works
- How OSLA helps federal student loan borrowers
- How to resolve disputes on your OSLA loans
- Keep in mind: OSLA could soon be replaced
- How to contact OSLA about your federal student loans
OSLA student loan review
Whether you went to college decades ago or more recently, OSLA may have serviced your Oklahoma student loan or federal student loan. Created in 1972, OSLA originated and owned Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) before the program ended in 2010 and has since remained of 11 federal loan servicers. It claimed to have serviced 130,000 borrowers.
As for customer service, the Better Business Bureau website awarded OSLA with an “A+ grade,” although the servicer has received mixed consumer reviews. There are dozens of concerns catalogued in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) complaint database, for example. Issues range from topics including credit reporting, customer service and debt collection practices.
For what it’s worth, OSLA wasn’t among the most-complained about servicers in the CFPB’s October 2019 report.
No student loan servicer is perfect, OSLA’s negative reviews may be the result of a few disgruntled borrowers. Either way, if you have OSLA loans, you can explore ways to switch loan servicers — or read on to find out how to make the most of your relationship with them.
OSLA is a public trust overseen by five trustees appointed by the governor of Oklahoma. Though it’s a nonprofit, the organization doesn’t receive any funds from the Oklahoma government. Rather, operating expenses are covered by the money they make from managing student loans.
Like other student loan servicers, OSLA acts as a middleman between borrowers and the Education Department by managing repayment of federal student loans. The organization only services Direct and FFEL Loans.
OSLA acts much like any loan servicer by accepting borrowers’ payments, figuring out alternative payment options and handling measures like deferment and forbearance. This is done through a website with an outdated design and lackluster user experience, however, although the servicer claims that its staff members average seven years’ experience in servicing student loans.
One of the main ways OSLA helps federal student loan borrowers is through their “default aversion initiatives.” If a borrower is having trouble with maintaining the repayment schedule, they proactively reach out to understand and rectify the situation.
Through a customer service agent, the borrower will learn about the various options to stay on top of their payments and avoid defaulting at all costs. This includes cautioning borrowers about third-party student loan debt relief offers and outside credit repair services.
In addition, they communicate via their website and individual correspondence with borrowers about how to manage sudden changes in a borrower’s personal situation. For example, if a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster was declared in an area, OSLA quickly makes borrowers aware of their Disaster Forbearance options.
OSLA is also open about the variety of options to student loan borrowers beyond just their bread-and-butter of servicing loans. They provide information on potentially beneficial borrower programs, such as:
- Direct Loan Consolidation
- Total Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness
- Teacher Loan Forgiveness
There are specialists and a highlighted section on the website’s homepage for U.S military service members to understand if they can receive any additional benefits.
Lastly, OSLA clearly lays out a number of repayment options for borrowers in addition to the Standard Repayment Plan.
Federal loan repayment plans available for OSLA loans
OSLA helps federal student loan borrowers by figuring out which repayment plan works best for them.
- Standard Payment: This is the basic 10-year repayment plan for borrowers who have federal student loans serviced by OSLA. Automatic payments can be set up and there are no additional fees from OSLA.
- Graduated Repayment: Available to Direct Loan borrowers, this plan has lower initial payments, but they increase in the future. That means the total interest paid will be higher than if you opted for the standard plan.
- Extended Repayment: A borrower can take a standard or graduated plan and extend the repayment term up to 25 years. Only loans that have been disbursed on or after October 7, 1998, qualify. In addition, you must have more than $30,000 left to pay on your FFEL loans or Direct Loans.
- Income-Sensitive Repayment: Borrowers can adjust their payment plan each year based on changes in their monthly incomes and total amount of student debt.
- Income-Based Repayment (IBR): Available to both FFEL and Direct Loans, borrowers’ payments are determined by how much you make, how many people are in your family, and how much you still have to repay on your student loans. After 20 or 25 years of making qualifying payments, the loans are forgiven.
- Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR): This is similar to the IBR with adjusted gross income, family size, and loan balance taken into consideration, but it’s for Direct Loans only and after 25 years of payments your loans are forgiven.
- Pay As You Earn (PAYE): This option is only available as of 2012 and is similar to IBR. The difference is to be eligible you must be a new borrower (taken out a loan after Oct. 1, 2007) and collected a Direct Loan disbursement after Oct. 1, 2011.
- Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE): Available starting in 2015, the plan is similar to PAYE except that there is no stipulation as to when you borrowed the money.
These options ensure that you’ll be able to find a way to pay back your student loans even if your financial situation changes. It’s just important to keep a line of communication with OSLA if you are having trouble making payments.
If you’re disappointed by OSLA customer service, you have recourse. The Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) makes its student loan ombudsman available to borrowers who have exhausted their options of dealing directly with their servicer. You can phone the ombudsman at 877-557-2575 or write to:
U.S. Department of Education
FSA Ombudsman Group
P.O. Box 1843
Monticello, KY 42633
Don’t assume the ombudsman will immediately side with you and solve all your servicer problems. Think of them more as an objective middleman between borrowers and servicers who can help bring about a resolution.
OSLA allows customers to make payments online or via postal mail. The servicer’s website is outdated but still functions — as long as you can locate your OSLA account number.
On the other hand, whatever you’re used to handling on its website is likely to move to the FSA’s new one-stop shop servicing platform. Most recently, in February 2020, the Education Department announced that loans serviced by Great Lakes or Nelnet could be repaid directly via NextGen, with plans to include other loan servicers (including OSLA).
In the future, you might not have to navigate OSLA’s website at all.
Borrowers can reach OSLA in several ways and it depends on the type of loan you have.
- There are two websites available to borrowers whether you have a Direct Loan or FFEL Loan. Both can initially be accessed at public2.osla.org.
- You can reach OSLA by phone at 1-866-264-9762 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Standard Time between Monday and Friday. Or, you can email them at [email protected].
- Military personnel can call 844-835-7484 or email [email protected].
Andrew Pentis contributed to this report.
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.79% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.64% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of July 31, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 7/31/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of September 9, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of September 10, 2020.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.16% effective August 10, 2020.