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Why Do I Keep Getting Calls About Student Loans?

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This article will explain why you may be getting calls from your student loan lender or loan servicer. If you have unpaid student loans, you may be contacted by a loan servicer for different reasons.

Written by the Upsolve Team.  Reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 1, 2021

This article will explain why you may be getting calls from your student loan lender or loan servicer. If you have unpaid student loans, you may be contacted by a loan servicer for different reasons.   

Student loan borrowers report regularly receiving a large number of phone calls, letters, emails, and texts about their student loan debt. Student loan robocalls, whether as part of student loan scams or as legitimate messages from federal loan servicers, are everyday occurrences. One service that blocks robocalls reports that roughly 165 million illegal student loan-related calls are made monthly. Not all calls related to student-loan debt are made illegally, but clearly, many of them are.

Calls About Your Student Loans

Many people have trouble paying student loan debt. As a borrower, you may receive calls that offer to reduce your monthly payment. They may even offer to reduce your overall student loan debt. Some scams falsely warn that student loan forgiveness programs will end soon. 

Don’t assume that a call is legitimate simply because you’re behind on your loans. If you're behind on your payments, you may receive legitmate calls. But your account status is irrelevant to scammers.

Even the Department of Education’s selected loan servicer, known as Navient, has violated the law. In 2009, The Department of Education selected Sallie Mae to service federal student loans. Sallie Mae changed its name to Navient in 2014. A year later, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which had been investigating the company, informed Navient that the company violated consumer protection laws.

Many borrowers receive a call from an unknown number with a promise to help them repay their student loans. You only need to provide some personal information and pay an upfront fee. Does this offer sound too good to be true? It probably is.

Remember that you don’t usually have to pay for help with managing your student loan debt. Many debt relief companies charge a fee when providing services that you can do yourself for free by contacting your loan servicer. At no cost, the U.S. Department of Education and federal loan servicers can help you find relief from burdensome student loan payments. 

How To Get on the “Do Not Call” List

If you are receiving unwanted, unwarranted phone calls, consider putting your number on the National Do Not Call Registry, set up by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). While this effort will stop telemarketing sales calls, you may still receive calls from scammers and robocallers, so continue to be cautious about which calls you take seriously.  

If you have already received a spam call for what you think is a scam and don't want a callback, don’t just notify your app operator, also report the number to the FTC’s Complaint Assistant. You can use the Federal Communication Commission’s online form.

Also, if you receive a robotext, you can copy the message and send it to your smartphone carrier at 7726 (SPAM). This free service is available to AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, and Bell customers. Many companies offer security products and information specific to their phones.

No company can legitimately promise immediate and complete student loan forgiveness or cancellation. A sign that the offer is a scam is if a caller claims that they can get rid of your loans in a short time. Most government forgiveness programs require many years of qualifying payments and/or employment in certain fields before loans are forgiven.

You also have rights under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Telemarketers, including those working for lenders and loan servicers, must ask for your permission before robocalling you, and include an opt-out or unsubscribe option during each robocall.

Student loan borrowers use an FSA (Federal Student Aid) ID to sign legally binding documents electronically. The use of an FSA has the same legal effect as a written signature. Do not give your FSA ID password to anyone or allow anyone to create an FSA ID for you.

By sharing your FSA ID or signing a Power of Attorney, you’re giving a debt relief company the authority to make important decisions on your behalf. If the debt relief company collects money from you but never makes any payments on your student loans, you will still be responsible for any outstanding payments, interest, and late fees.

If you have already shared your personal information or paid a fee to a student loan debt relief company, consider changing your FSA ID. You can also contact your loan servicer to revoke any power of attorney or third-party authorization agreement that the servicer has in its file. Make sure no unwanted actions are taken on your loans. You can also contact your bank or credit card company and stop payments to the student loan debt relief company. Finally, you can file a complaint with the FTC.

Tips for Spotting Scams

Because many student loan borrowers have trouble paying student loans, they are often targets of crooks, scammers, and hustlers. Scammers may promise student loan forgiveness, but only after collecting your personal information and a fee. Student loan debt relief companies often pose as entities related to the government, which is illegal. 

The FTC and other government entities have taken action against many of these companies. Some are banned from providing debt relief for life. 

The following are some examples of the false claims made by student loan relief scammers. A typical scam scenario involves a letter, text, email, or phone message that contains any of the following:

*“Act immediately to qualify for student loan forgiveness before the program is discontinued.”

*“You are now eligible to receive benefits from a recent law that has passed regarding federal student loans, including total forgiveness in some circumstances. Federal student loan programs may change. Please call within 30 days of receiving this notice.”

*“Your student loans may qualify for complete discharge. Enrollments are first come, first served.”

*“Student alerts: Your student loan is flagged for forgiveness pending verification. Call now!”

Some tips for spotting scams include recognizing the following warning signs:

*The caller claims that the debt relief offer is limited and encourages immediate action.

Student loan debt relief companies instill a sense of urgency in vulnerable borrowers as a tool of persuasion. They cite new laws and programs that are replacing better but soon to be discontinued programs as a method of encouraging immediate action. 

*The caller asks for your FSA ID username and password.

The Department of Education or its partners will never ask you for your FSA ID password. Anyone with access to your FSA ID information can make changes to your account without your knowledge or permission.

*The caller promises immediate and absolute loan forgiveness or cancellation.

There is no public or private entity that can legitimately claim that it can deliver loan forgiveness or cancellation immediately without delay. Most federal student loan government forgiveness programs require many years of qualifying payments and/or employment requirements before your loans will be forgiven. Payment amounts under income-driven payment plans are determined by federal law. This means that student loan debt relief companies have no special ability to get you a good deal that reduces or eliminates your student loan debt. 

*The caller asks you to sign and submit a power of attorney or a third-party authorization form.

These are written agreements that give a third party the legal authority to act on your behalf. If you sign one of these, the authorized party can speak directly with your student loan servicer and make decisions that affect your account. They will have access to sensitive information like your Social Security number. Debt relief companies can change information related to your account so they can conceal the fact that they aren’t making your monthly student loan payment.

*The caller requires you to pay up-front or monthly fees for student loan debt relief assistance.

It is illegal to charge an up-front fee for this type of debt relief service. A company requiring a fee before performing any act or service should be avoided at any cost, especially if it tries to get your credit card number or bank account information. Some even are bold enough to ask you to pay them directly, promising to pay your servicer each month on the due date. This type of scam shouldn’t be confused with accredited, non-profit, debt management programs. These types of services pay your lenders directly as part of broader, legitimate debt management plans.

Help With Paying Back Your Student Loan Debt

There is a difference between student loan forgiveness, cancellation, and discharge. Each of these debt relief options ends your loan payments and eliminates the remaining balance of the loan. Also, there are federal repayment programs that may be available to eligible borrowers to help them manage their loan payments successfully. 

You can also try to get a forbearance of payments on a federal student loan. With forbearance, you won’t have to make a payment, or you can temporarily make a smaller payment. The drawback is that you probably won’t be making any progress toward forgiveness or paying back your loan. It may be best to consider income-driven repayment as an alternative.

If you want to pay less interest, the standard student loan repayment plan is likely your best bet. You will make equal monthly payments for 10 years. If you can afford the standard plan, you’ll pay less in interest and pay off your loans faster than you would on other federal repayment plans. You’re automatically placed in the standard plan when you enter repayment.

If you want to lower your payment amount, the federal government offers four income-driven repayment plans for federal student loans: income-based repayment, income-contingent repayment, Pay As You Earn (PAYE), and Revised Pay as You Earn (REPAYE). These options are best if your income is too low to afford a standard payment.

You may want to consider consolidation if you have more than one student loan. This process may make things easier by rolling all your loans into one account, so that you only have to make one payment each month. You may also be able to get a better interest rate by consolidating your loans.

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Although you may select or be assigned a repayment plan when you first begin repaying your student loan, you can change repayment plans at any time—for free. Contact your loan servicer if you would like to discuss repayment plan options or change your repayment plan. 

There are legitimate student loan forgiveness programs for federal student loans. Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a federal program available to government and certain nonprofit employees. If you’re eligible, your remaining loan balance could be forgiven tax-free after you make 120 qualifying loan payments. This program is not available for those who have private loans.

Let’s Summarize. . .

Debt relief is a major business enterprise in the 21st Century. One of the main targets of those offering debt relief is student loan borrowers. This isn’t surprising since most student loan borrowers strongly desire some form of relief for their student loan debt.  But you have to be vigilant. The debt relief market is full of scammers who try to take advantage of those in need. You can take steps to reduce robocalls and other unwanted contacts by phone. The best defense is a good offense. Learn as much as you can about your alternatives related to debt relief and relief from unwanted phone calls.

Written By:

The Upsolve Team

Upsolve is fortunate to have a remarkable team of bankruptcy attorneys, as well as finance and consumer rights professionals, as contributing writers to help us keep our content up to date, informative, and helpful to everyone.

Attorney Andrea Wimmer


Andrea practiced exclusively as a bankruptcy attorney in consumer Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases for more than 10 years before joining Upsolve, first as a contributing writer and editor and ultimately joining the team as Managing Editor. While in private practice, Andrea handled... read more about Attorney Andrea Wimmer

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