Got a problem with your federal student loan? The Federal Student Aid Ombudsman specialists are here to help. First they’ve got a bunch of tips for you to fix your problem on your own. If all those don’t work, contact them by phone, fax, or mail and they will help you out. For reals. This is reader Trey’s great experience with them:
I recently finished law school and accepted a fellowship with the Department of Homeland Security. As part of my compensation package, DHS graciously offered to repay some of my student loans under a federal recruiting program. I was thrilled and immediately set about filling out the required paperwork. The last item I needed to supply was an Electronic Funds Transfer Number and Tax ID for my lender, EdSouth/EdFinancial. That, as it turns out was easier said than done.
I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that I went round and round with EdSouth’s phone goons for more than three weeks, repeatedly explaining my situation and faxing documents which (they said) would make it possible for me to get the information I needed. After a final marathon phone call in which I spoke with three reps and two supervisors of ever-escalating grade, I finally got so frustrated that I threw my phone across the room.
At this point I was shaking with anger. I called three different lenders to try and just move the loans to another servicer that might be more receptive. As I was looking, I came across a webpage for the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman, a kind of Mr.-Fixit for disputes with lenders. I ran down their “Before You Call” list and found that I’d already taken all the steps necessary before contacting the Ombudsman’s office. I sent a brief e-mail explaining my situation and got a receipt a short time later.
Today, less than 24-hours later, I got a response from Thad Bartkowiak, an Ombudsman Specialist. He’d already investigated my situation, spoken with EdSouth, and obtained the federal payment number DHS will need to process my loan payments. The Ombudsman’s Office is a GREAT resource for anyone with student loans. Their website, http://www.ombudsman.ed.gov, has self-resolution tools as well as the complaint form that I used.
The Office Of The Ombudsman [Official Site]