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    What To Do When You Can't Resolve Your Loan Dispute

    If you're struggling with your loan holder, look to the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman (for federal student loans) or the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (for private loans) for help.
    Updated: March 10, 2017

    What You'll Learn

    • Where to turn if you can't solve a dispute with your federal student loan holder.
    • What types of problems the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman can assist with.
    • How to handle disputes involving private student loans.
    Men holding pens pointing at papers

    Have you ever felt that some of your student loan information was incorrect. Or have you had a problem with your loan holder that you just couldn't resolve—no matter how hard you tried?

    These issues can be overwhelming, and it may seem like there's nothing anyone can do for you. However, there are resources that exist specifically to help you handle such disputes.

    Federal Student Loan Disputes

    If you have an unresolved federal student loan dispute, the U.S. Department of Education's (ED) Federal Student Aid (FSA) Ombudsman—a neutral, informal, and confidential mediator—may be able to help you.

    What Can The Ombudsman Do For You?

    The Ombudsman may be able to help you:

    • Resolve discrepancies about federal loan balances.
    • Understand loan interest and collection charges.
    • Identify options for resolving issues related to federal consolidation, service quality, default, bankruptcy, tax offsets, and other concerns.
    • Clarify federal loan deferment, forbearance, discharge, and forgiveness requirements.
    • Identify federal loan repayment options.

    What Can't The Ombudsman Do For You?

    The Ombudsman does not:

    • Automatically take your side.
    • Make binding decisions or overturn decisions made by your loan holder.
    • Assist you with private student loan or grant complaints.
    • Help with issues that ED is already formally or legally investigating.
    • Accept loan payments.
    • Process deferment, forbearance, discharge, or forgiveness requests.
    • Serve as a replacement to ED's standard channels of dispute resolution.
    • Testify or serve as a witness.

    Contact Info

    You can contact the federal Ombudsman group at 877.557.2575, or by fax at 606.396.4821. You can also mail your complaint to:

    FSA Ombudsman Group
    PO Box 1843
    Monticello, KY 42633

    Remember that you should only contact the Ombudsman as a last resort when you have been unable to resolve a dispute on your own.

    Private Student Loan Disputes

    Until 2010, resources for disputing private student loan issues were virtually non-existent. That's when the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) came on the scene with a mission to provide American consumers with the necessary information to understand the terms of their financial agreements.

    Like the Ombudsman for federal student loans, you can contact the CFPB to file a complaint if you have a dispute with your private student loan company that you can't resolve on your own. The CFPB will work with you and your loan holder to find a solution.

    What The CFPB Does

    The CFPB aims to make sure that consumer financial products work for Americans. It was designed to:

    • Write rules, supervise companies, and enforce federal consumer financial protection laws.
    • Restrict unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices by companies.
    • Take consumer complaints.
    • Promote financial education.
    • Research consumer behavior.
    • Monitor financial markets for new risks to consumers.
    • Enforce laws that outlaw discrimination and other unfair treatment in consumer finance.

    If you are having difficulty resolving a dispute with your private student loan lender, you can file a complaint with the CFPB. They will research your problem and attempt to help you find a resolution.

    Salt Is Always Here to Help, Too!

    No matter what kind of student loans you have, you can turn to Salt® for help. We're your dedicated resource for information about student loans, and we can give you personalized answers to your most challenging questions.

    If you are having trouble getting the answers that you need, we can also help to facilitate communications between you and your loan holder.

    Just contact us to get started.

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