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If You Found an Error in Your Student Loan Bill, Here’s What to Do Next | Student Loans and Advice

Key Takeaways

  • If you find an error on your student loan bill, call your loan servicer immediately and ask the servicer to fix it. If you’re having trouble getting in touch due to long wait times, try email or online chat features. 
  • If you’re unsuccessful, you can file a complaint with the Department of Education or turn to the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for help.
  • Keep an eye on your credit report so you can spot future errors.

Federal student loan payments recently resumed after a three-year hiatus, but they’re off to a rough start. Many borrowers received incorrect loan balances, and over 800,000 were delinquent on their payments due to untimely billing statements.

Student loan repayments are already a source of stress for many borrowers, and unforeseen errors only add to the issue. Fortunately, you can take steps to resolve the situation if you find a mistake on your student loan bill.

The Impacts of Errors in Your Student Loan Bill

The impact of an inaccurate student loan bill can vary depending on your loan type and the severity of the error. “Errors on the student loan bill can have a negative impact on a borrower,” says Stacey MacPhetres, senior director of education finance at EdAssist by Bright Horizons. “They could be charged unpaid interest if they’re enrolled in a SAVE plan, which would increase their overall debt.”

Even a minor error on your student loan bill can lead to serious financial consequences. For example, if your interest is miscalculated and you don’t catch it, you’ll end up paying more over the life of the loan.

Or if an incorrect due date causes you to miss your monthly payment, this can cause your credit score to drop. If you’re enrolled in a loan forgiveness program, like Public Service Loan Forgiveness, an error could threaten your forgiveness eligibility.

Common Errors in Student Loan Bills

As a student loan borrower, the best way to protect yourself is by spotting errors early. According to LeAndra Ross, a regional director with AccessLex, these are some of the most common problems you can expect to encounter:

  • Delayed billing notices. Occasionally, your loan servicer may not provide timely notice of your bill before the due date. When this happens, it can cause late payments and delinquencies.
  • Incorrect items. Another common error is receiving a bill with incorrect items – like listing the wrong repayment plan or amount due. Or the repayment plan may not be what you originally signed up for with your loan servicer. 
  • Inconsistencies after a servicer transfer. Borrowers are frequently transferred to other servicers, and if this happens with multiple loans, these changes can be hard to keep track of. If this happens to you, take a photo of your loan balance and details before the transfer occurs. That way, you can ensure that everything stays the same once your loan is transferred. 

How to Spot Errors in Your Student Loan Bill

The best way to spot errors on your student loan bill is by reading your statements and tracking your accounts regularly. “Borrowers should carefully check for changes or errors to their student loan servicing account, which can be accessed online,” says MacPhetres.

Start by verifying which repayment plan you’re enrolled in. You can find this information by logging into your Department of Education account. Fixed repayment plans include the Standard Repayment Plan, the Graduated Repayment Plan and the Extended Repayment Plan. It’s important to note that if you didn’t pick a repayment plan, your loan servicer will have placed you on the Standard Repayment Plan, which could result in a higher monthly payment).

Income-driven repayment plans are based on how much money you make and the size of your family. IDR plans include the Saving on a Valuable Education Plan, the Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan, the Income-Based Repayment Plan and the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan.

“Many income-driven repayment plans may not require payments for borrowers with qualifying income,” says MacPhetres. “Borrowers with $0 or low payments under the SAVE plan should check to make sure their servicer is not adding on unpaid interest each month.”

Review your information to ensure the correct income data is used to calculate your monthly payments. If you believe your payments are being calculated inaccurately, you can contact your servicer and ask it to fix the mistake.

What to Do If You Find an Error

If you find an error on your student loan bill, reach out to your loan servicer immediately and ask the servicer to fix it. But the issue may not get resolved right away, so it’s important to manage your expectations.

“Call wait times to speak to the loan servicer can be lengthy, especially for federal student loans given the recent resumption of loan repayment for millions of borrowers,” says Ross. She recommends using other forms of communication, like emailing your servicer and using online chat features.

In the meantime, continue to monitor your credit reports so you have an accurate log of your accounts and their statuses. And keeping an eye on your credit report will help you spot future errors. You can request a free copy of your report from the three major credit bureaus at annualcreditreport.com.

Sarah Goldberg
Sarah Goldberg

Sarah is a seasoned financial market expert with a decade of experience. She's known for her analytical skills, attention to detail, and ability to communicate complex financial concepts. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Finance, is a licensed financial advisor, and enjoys reading and traveling in her free time.

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