Has anyone ever audit their student loan history to see if there has been errors? Tell me your story.
Many years ago I decided to do a full court press and request a full papertrail of all my student loans in the hopes that I might be able to turn up something that was actionable. Unfortunately in my case I couldn’t find anything.
Hello, Thomas_Gokey, Can you tell me how to get a full paper trail of my student loans. I have had them with different loan holders. I started college in 1987 and owe more now that I did when I started! I will never get this paid off in my life time unless they are canceled. Please help me find a way to track all of this so I can do my own audit. Thank you
I recently requested my loan documents, including the fine print for the Income based repayment plan that I am on, but I just received the application for the plan and my loan consolidation application (which I guess is also the promissory note).
Hi @nickicusty, I’m not sure that there is any fine print for the IBR plan itself. What specifically are you hoping to learn about that?
If you previously consolidated your loans, there will be a new Master Promissory Note (MPN) for that new consolidation loan. I believe it should actually say Master Promissory Note at the top. It will have your signature, although that could end up just being an electronic signature and it probably will be that if the consolidation took place within the last few years.
BUT, if this is a consolidation loan, it means it combined a lot of pre-existing loans together. The real trick would be to try to track down the MPN for all of those pre-existing loans, but that can be harder to do. I’d log into the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) which should still preserve a record of all of those older loans. All of those older loans will be zeroed out in the NSLDS, but you should still see all of the info about who the lender/servicer was on that loan. You could contact then servicer for that loan and using the other info you find in NSLDS be able to identify the loan and request the MPN.
Chances are pretty high that even if you do a full court press they will be able to produce all of the MPNs, but you never know and it can’t hurt to try and at the very least you will probably learn a lot about your own loan situation which can be useful both for yourself and to help others. We are all in this together in solidarity!
Thank you for your response,
By requesting the “fine print” material I’m mainly trying to get certainty that if I re-certify and pay the required monthly payment under the income based repayment plan for the next 25 years my loan will be forgiven. I was told this over the phone, but I don’t have that confirmation in a written agreement. The other thing that really worries me is that this loan continues to grow under this repayment plan, and I understand now that when this loan is forgiven under this IBR plan, the loan balance that is forgiven is deemed “income” for income tax purposes. The debt is roughly over $100K now but if it accrues interest at a 7.25% rate for 25 years, this amount will be significantly larger and I cannot believe that this would then be considered an income for me that I would need to pay taxes on… the whole point is that I don’t have enough income to pay this debt!
Thank you for your words of solidarity, I feel lied to, and am in disbelief at the whole situation.
You can find a lot of the info online.
First I would say that you should make sure that IBR really is offering you the lowest monthly payment. A lot of people are able to lower their payment by switching to the REPAYE program. One benefit to the REPAYE program is that the repayment period is 20 years (whereas some IBR plans are 25).
I honestly wouldn’t worry about the taxable income issue. The truth is we have no idea what federal policy on this will be like in 20-25 years. They have already waived the taxable income issue for PSLF and the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. Obviously I can’t predict the future, but our current system is unsustainable. I feel very confident in saying that the current system will not be the same in 20-25 years. In fact, I think we will likely win full debt cancelation long before that (we are doing all we can!).
One trick that I have found if you are having trouble getting information in writing is to file a complaint with the CFPB. One advantage of filing a complaint with the CFPB is that it requires the entity (in this case probably your loan servicer) to respond in writing within a set period of time. So as a part of your CFPB complaint you can say lay out super explicitly what information you are seeing from your servicer in writing, say that you have already tried to request that in writing but that they have not provided it, and then say that the way to resolve the issue is to give you specifically info about X, Y & Z in writing.
Then file the written response you get. If they still don’t answer your questions in writing you can alert the CFPB to that fact and make them try again.
Are your loans private or federal? This is what i did… i did this with my private loans. You can do your own audit if your familiar with excel formulas. Ask your loan servicer for a copy of your amortized payment history. This shows you a complete breakdown of interest rates (very important if you have a variable interest), payments, fees, capitalization etc. I was able to receive SOME of my documents when I requested a copy of my promissory note (I’ve heard if they can’t find it you can dispute the loan ) I also asked for all documentation from the inception of my loan. Luckily my parents are pack rats and saved at least 50 pages of original documents from 2004-2009. I used these documents to compare copies of transaction histories I had downloaded from 2017 and found things didn’t add up (misapplied payments, late fees etc). When I questioned them they stopped sending my documents. Since I had some documents I was able to make a spreadsheet using the formula on the website to calculate interest to see if they were accurate (they arent) I decided to contact the attorney General of my state explaining what I found and how my loan servicer told me I would need a lawyer to get the rest of my documentation! For a couple months his once was CC in emails between me and my servicer which allowed me to receive pdfs of ALMOST all of the documents, they failed to include a couple years as well as a complete amortized payment history…the documents were also not in chronological order which made it a daunting task which took me up until this year (I asked for these documents in 2020) to get in order and by loans (I have 4), I still haven’t received the missing years and I have 2 giant binders full of documents! Anyway the AG said he couldn’t find anything which wasn’t surprising because things were out of order and would’ve taken a lot of man hours to uncover all the errors and fraud I found (that’s another story I can explain if anyone is interested). If they drag their feet get a lawyer (if you can afford one) to request them for you, if you have evidence of some wrong doing contact the consumer protection agency and your attorney General. The AG who looked into mine was the one who spearheaded the latest case against navient for all the things I found wrong with my loans. Since I didn’t default I didn’t qualify for loan cancelation which really really upset me. If you know something is wrong with your loans don’t give up. Good luck.