MOHELA, also known as the Higher Education Loan Authority of the State of Missouri, is a nonprofit student loan servicer that handles federal and private student loans. Compared to most other loan servicers, MOHELA has fewer complaints and better ratings with an A+ on the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Still, like most servicers, MOHELA receives various complaints with some borrowers allegedly receiving incorrect information about their loans or having their loan handled improperly. Learn more about MOHELA, the issues that borrowers have with the company and how to change loan servicers below.
MOHELA Student Loan Review
MOHELA is a nonprofit student loan servicer used by both the federal government and private student lenders. MOHELA was created to service Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans and to help ease the burden of student loans for borrowers. The company now deals with other loans types and services the loans by managing payments, helping you find the best repayment plan and handling your loans if you need to put them into deferment or declare forbearance.
MOHELA is definitely not the worst servicer to have managing your loans as it has received few complaints from borrowers to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). However, you should still always monitor your student loan balance and payments to make sure that your loans are handled properly. MOHELA does still receive complaints about problems with how loans are handled and being told incorrect information from representatives.
If you're having problems with MOHELA as your servicer, contact them immediately, and if you don't get an adequate response, file a complaint through the federal student aid feedback system, CFPB or BBB. If you want to change student loan servicers, your best bet would be to refinance your loans. If you have federal loans, you can also try consolidating and your servicer may change or if you qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), your loans will be transferred over to FedLoan.
Repayment With MOHELA Student Loans
If you're just beginning to make payments with MOHELA, you should start by creating an account on their user-login portal. You'll need to provide your Social Security number, date of birth and other personal details to sign up. After your account is set up, you can then use your account to make payments online or on MOHELA's app. And if you want to make sure you don't miss any payments, you can sign up for automatic payments. However, you must make sure to still monitor your balance and payments. If you would rather not pay online, you can also call MOHELA's customer service center or send a check in the mail.
If you have federal student loans with MOHELA, you can choose between standard, extended, graduated and income-driven repayment plans, depending on your loan type. You will be automatically enrolled in standard repayment but you should explore the other options available to you as another may fit better with your finances. For borrowers with private student loans, your repayment options will depend on your lender. You should also explore the options available to you but they may be a bit limited compared to the federal plans.
How to Switch to a New Student Loan Servicer
Switching to a new loan servicer is a big transition, especially if you are moving from federal loans to private loans. Loan servicers are arguably your most important point of contact in student loan repayment, which can last over 25 years. If you can't stand MOHELA as your loan servicer and you've tried everything to reach them and file a complaint, you should consider refinancing your loans with a private lender. Here are some of our top refinancing picks.
Before you refinance to get away from MOHELA: It's important to remember that if you refinance with a private lender, you will lose federal repayment plans and protections, including deferment and forbearance. Some private lenders may also offer these policies but there is no guarantee that they will be the same. We don't suggest that you refinance your student loans unless you are aware of the options you are giving up and can handle potentially higher interest rates.
Earnest is a great lender for borrowers who want flexibility in setting their own monthly payments and loan terms. Earnest doesn't allow co-signers so, you must be able to qualify on your own with a minimum credit score of 650. Unlike most lenders, Earnest disburses and services its own loans and has an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau. It's important to note that the lender was acquired by Navient, but the companies continue to operate separately.
Like Earnest, Discover also handles the disbursement and servicing of its student loans. So, instead of your loans being passed to another company, Discover will remain your primary point of contact during the repayment process. On the other hand, the lender is not the best in terms of rates, but it does offer helpful financial assistance options for borrowers in case they face financial difficulties. Discover provides options for early repayment, payment extensions and reduced payments to help borrowers stay on top of their loans.
CommonBond is a good student lender to consider, as it has some of the lowest refinancing rates we've seen. The company has received an A- on the Better Business Bureau with very few complaints. But CommonBond's servicer, Firstmark Services, has received a D rating, meaning that it has failed to respond to borrower complaints. If you are planning to refinance with CommonBond, be sure to voice your concerns about Firstmark Services before applying.
Generally, if you have federal loans, you should only refinance if a private lender is offering you a lower interest rate than you already have. If not, it may be best to stay with your federal loan servicer. For private loans, you should also only refinance if you are being offered a better rate but you don't have to worry about losing federal repayment plans and protections. Keep in mind that refinancing does not guarantee that you will receive better student loan service.
MOHELA Customer Service and How to Submit a Complaint
If you need to file a complaint about MOHELA, here are some of the top websites to report an issue or problem you have with the company.
FSA Feedback System: The federal student aid feedback system allows borrowers to send any feedback about their loans, including complaints, positive feedback and to report suspicious activity. To file a complaint, you must describe the issue you are having with your loans and how you would like it to be resolved. The Federal Student Aid office will respond to your report as soon as it can.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB): The CFPB is another government website to send issues you are having with MOHELA but instead of just receiving complaints about student loans, it allows consumers to send complaints about any company. To file a complaint, you will have to answer a few questions to categorize the issue you're having and then describe the problem. The CFPB will then send the complaint to the company for a resolution. According to the website, 97% of consumers receive a timely response to their problem.
Better Business Bureau (BBB): The Better Business Bureau is another company that works to resolve problems that consumers are having with companies. To file a complaint with the BBB, you have to provide your name, address and email and describe the problems you are having with the company. The BBB will then send your report to the business and ask for a response within 14 days. If the company doesn't respond, the BBB will send another request.
If you haven't already, contact MOHELA before using any of these services. You can contact the servicer by phone, secured email, mail or through their social media accounts. The company also has an information center that provides additional resources with account management tools and explains different types of student loans.
Common Problems With MOHELA Student Loans
MOHELA doesn't have many as many complaints on file with the CFPB and BBB compared to other student loan servicers. However, there are still common complaints that come up on these sites filed by borrowers. Below we've listed three of the major complaints about MOHELA and how to avoid them.
Trouble with how payments are handled: The most common complaint from MOHELA borrowers is about the way that the servicer handles its student loan payments. MOHELA failed to transfer over payments for one borrower, making the payment past due with the other servicer. While other borrowers have tried to pay down their principal balance within the allowed amount of time and found that MOHELA instead put that money into future payments. This means that interest will accrue on that full principal amount. In this case, you should always document your payments and if you are transitioning over your student loans, call a representative before to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Received bad information about loans: Many borrowers also filed complaints about receiving incorrect information about how to qualify for Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and getting conflicting information about their loans in general from MOHELA representatives. Whenever you talk to a representative, you should take down their name and, if possible, have them send you an email confirming the information they gave you. Always keep records of your payments and any transfers of your loans. Also, don't just rely on representatives for information, do your own research on your student loans and the programs you could qualify for.
Don't agree with the fees charged: The other main complaint among borrowers is that they don't agree with the fees charged on their loans. Most borrowers that file this complaint are having a tough time with their payments and don't get how the loan balance isn't decreasing. If you are having trouble understanding your loans, you should contact a representative and work out the best repayment plan for your finances. Also, try out different repayment plans using online student loan calculators. If you can qualify for income-based repayment plans, your loans will be forgiven after 20 or 25 years, depending on the plan.