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How Do I Find My Student Loan Lender?

How Do I Find My Student Loan Lender?
Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman
Sulaiman Abdur-RahmanUpdated August 9, 2022
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
Editor’s Note: Since the writing of this article, the Biden administration has extended the pause on federal student loan repayment through Dec. 31, 2022. Student loans are provided by the federal government or private lenders. You can find your student loan lender by contacting your loan servicing company or reviewing your credit report.A student loan servicer is a company that performs administrative tasks on federal or private student loans. A student loan lender, meanwhile, is a financial institution or government body that offers student loans for higher education purposes.Below we provide examples of student loan lenders and information on how you can find your lender.

What Is a Student Loan Lender?

As mentioned above, a student loan lender is a financial institution or government body that offers student loans for higher education purposes. The biggest lender of student loans in the United States is the U.S. Department of Education, which offers federal education loans to students and parents.After the U.S. Department of Education disburses federal student loans, a loan servicing company performs administrative tasks associated with those loans. These loan servicing companies have a federal contract to address customer service inquiries and collect student loan payments.Other student loan lenders include financial institutions or nonfederal agencies that offer private student loans. The difference between private and federal student loans is that federal student loans are provided exclusively by the U.S. Department of Education, whereas banks, credit unions, online lenders, and select state-based or state-affiliated organizations may offer private student loans.Student loan borrowers are generally expected to repay their education loan debts over time. The amount you owe in student loans may include principal and interest charges.The average student loan debt across the United States is tens of thousands of dollars per borrower. Average federal student loan debt in 2021 stood at $36,510 per borrower, while private student loan debt averaged $54,921 per borrower, according to Education Data Initiative research.

How Do I Find My Student Loan Lender?

As mentioned earlier, you can find your student loan lender by contacting your loan servicing company or reviewing your credit report.Your credit report may contain lender details and balance information for all active student loans you took out. The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives borrowers the right to obtain their free credit report every 12 months upon request.A student loan servicing company performs administrative tasks on federal or private student loans. Your student loan servicer in many cases may be a different entity than the owner of your student loans.

Federal Student Loan Lenders

The U.S. Department of Education is the lender and owner of the following federal student loans disbursed from its Direct Loan Program:
  • Direct Subsidized Loans 
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans 
  • Direct PLUS Loans 
  • Direct Consolidation Loans
Colleges previously had the authority to offer student loans under the Federal Perkins Loan Program, but the authority for schools to make new Perkins Loans ended on September 30, 2017.Private lenders previously offered student loans guaranteed by the federal government through the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL), but that federal program ended in 2010.

Private Student Loan Lenders

Financial institutions and other nonfederal funding sources can operate as private student loan lenders. Banks, credit unions, online lenders, and select state-based or state-affiliated organizations may offer private student loans.

Examples of Student Loan Lenders

A number of entities and organizations operate as student loan lenders, including banks, credit unions, and government bodies. A state-based agency, such as the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency or PHEAA, can also serve as a lender for student loans.

Lenders for Federal Student Loans

As mentioned earlier, the U.S. Department of Education is the lender and owner of all federal student loans disbursed from its Direct Loan Program. Schools no longer offer Federal Perkins Loans, and private lenders for student loans no longer offer Federal Family Education Loans.The following organizations operate as official servicers of federal student loans as of July 2022:
  • Aidvantage (Maximus Education LLC)
  • EdFinancial Services 
  • FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA)
  • Great Lakes Educational Loan Services Inc.
  • Higher Education Loan Authority of the State of Missouri (MOHELA)
  • Nelnet
  • Oklahoma Student Loan Authority (OSLA)
PHEAA is expected to exit the federal student loan servicing business when its extended contract expires in December 2022.

Lenders for Private Student Loans

Here are some examples of lenders or platforms for private student loans:
  • Earnest Operations LLC 
  • LendKey Technologies Inc.
  • Splash Financial

Can I Refinance My Student Loans?

You may qualify for student loan refinancing if a lender finds you creditworthy. Qualified borrowers may refinance federal student loans, and borrowers may also refinance their private student loans.Refinancing federal student loans can allow borrowers to replace their existing federal loans with the terms and conditions of a private loan agreement. This means federal student loan borrowers may switch from a federal repayment plan to a private student loan refinancing payment plan.How student loan refinancing works is that borrowers submit an application with a private lender requesting a new loan agreement for refinancing student loan debt.Private lenders can set their own underwriting standards, but some may require applicants to have steady income and good credit. For subprime borrowers, it might be difficult to refinance student loans with bad credit.Reviewing the pros and cons of refinancing student loans can help you decide whether refinancing is right for you. One of the advantages of refinancing student loans is it may provide you with a lower interest rate. One of the big disadvantages of refinancing student loans with a private lender, however, is you’ll be forfeiting federal benefits.Refinancing federal student loans will remove your access to federal income-driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs, such as military student loan forgiveness for members of the U.S. armed forces.Student loan refinancing might be right for you if you can lock in a lower interest rate. The average interest rate on student loans among all existing borrowers as of April 2022 stood at 5.8%, according to the Education Data Initiative.If you’re carrying student loan repayment obligations, you might ask, “Can I pay off my student loans early?” Borrowers can make extra payments to minimize their interest charges and pay off student loans early. Some borrowers, however, may never finish repaying a student loan during their lifetime.You may ask, how long does it take to pay off student loans? It can take borrowers between 10 to 30 years to pay off federal student loans and five to 25 years to pay off private student loans.What happens to student loans when you die is the debt might be discharged, although some private lenders may demand repayment from your estate.The federal government in March 2020 suspended student loan payments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. After a number of extensions, the moratorium on student loan payments is scheduled to be lifted on August 31, 2022.

Refinance Student Loans with Lantern:

If you’re burdened with education loan debt and would like to refinance student loans, Lantern by SoFi can help. Refinancing might be right for you if you can lock in a lower interest rate. Explore your options today and consider applying with a lender of your choice.Find and compare student loan refinance options with Lantern.
Photo credit: iStock/jroballo
The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.LCSL0422018

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if any of my loans are owned by the government?
Where do I find my federal student loans?
How can I find my private student loans?

About the Author

Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman

Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman

Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman writes about personal loans, auto loans, student loans, and other personal finance topics for Lantern. He’s the recipient of more than 10 journalism awards and currently serves as a New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists board member. An alumnus of the Philadelphia-based Temple University, Abdur-Rahman is a strong advocate of the First Amendment and freedom of speech.
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