To complete college and/or graduate-level study, many consumers took out student loans. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB):
"Student loans have now surpassed credit cards as the largest source of unsecured consumer debt... unlike federal student loans, private student loans do not generally have the same borrower protections such as military deferments, discharges upon death, or income-based repayment plans."
More help is available. The CFPB announced that it provides assistance for consumers who are experiencing problems with taking out a private student loan, repaying their private student loan, or managing a student loan that has gone into default and may have been referred to a debt collector:
- Before applying for loans, students should read the financial aid shopping sheet. Some consumers have already submitted feedback to the CFPB about what they want in this draft disclosure sheet. The CFPB will use this feedback in crafting future disclosure guidelines for lenders.
- Students who already have loans can use the Student Debt Repayment Assistant interactive, online tool to discover new repayment options.
- Borrowers who are experiencing difficulties paying loans, managing loans, or loans that have gone into default can now submit complaints at the CFPB website about private student loans. the types of complaints include: payment difficulties, confusing advertising or marketing terms, billing disputes, deferment issues, debt collection problems, and credit reporting issues.
Borrowers can also submit complaints to the CFPB via a toll-free phone number (1-855-411-2372), via fax (1-855-237-2392), and via postal mail (CFPB, P.O. Box 4503, Iowa City, Iowa 52244).
Private student loans are issued by banks, credit unions, schools, and similar lending institutions. If you aren’t sure what kind of loans you have, the CFPB advises students to visit the National Student Loan Database System for Students and select “Financial Aid Review” for a list of all federal loans made to you. Click each individual loan to see who the company is that collects payments from you.
Complaints about federal student loans (e.g., Direct, Stafford, Perkins, etc.) should be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education. The CFPB will automatically forward complaints it receives about federal student loans to the Department of Education.