The Department of Education and many private lenders issue loans to students to help fund their education.
Many lenders that provide loans to students do not want to handle loan servicing and customer service themselves. This means they don’t distribute funds to schools, collect payments, or otherwise provide service to potential and current borrowers in managing their loans.
That’s where Heartland ECSI and other student loan servicers come in.
Heartland ECSI is one of the largest and oldest student loan servicers in the U.S. ECSI services several types of loans for students at all educational levels.
This ECSI student loan review can help you better understand what ECSI will do for you – and what types of services it will provide.
On this page:
- What Does Heartland ECSI Do?
- Tuition Payment Plans Through ECSI
- What People Are Saying About ECSI
- Dealing With ECSI As Your Servicer
What Does Heartland ECSI Do?
As mentioned, private lenders and the Department of Education turn to ECSI to manage the logistics of borrowing. In its capacity as a loan servicer, ECSI provides several services:
- Manages student loan accounts: This involves collecting payments and reporting payment information to three major credit reporting bureaus. To access account information, borrowers would go to Heartland ECSI.
- Facilitates refunds: Student loans and financial aid are distributed to the school to pay for tuition, but sometimes you borrow for more than just the cost of school fees. When your loan is meant to cover other expenses, you’ll need a tuition refund. ECSI facilitates refunds and arranges for funds to be delivered via direct deposit or paper check. You can log into your online account with Heartland ECSI to select how to receive your refund. If you choose direct deposit, you should have the funds in your bank account within two to three days of loan disbursement.
- Works with borrowers toward the right loan repayment option: Heartland ECSI offers students the option to defer student loan payments while in school and provides a variety of different payment plans for students who have graduated or left their academic program.
- Handles past due tuition and fees: Heartland ECSI assists students who are past due on their loan repayment by working with them to set up a payment plan or to get their balance paid in full. If necessary, the Heartland educational company may report to credit bureaus.
- Sends out 1098-T Tax Forms: These tax documents are sent to students who paid “qualified educational expenses,” during the prior tax year. Qualified expenses include tuition, enrollment fees, and costs of course materials.
ECSI has partnered with more than 2,200 colleges and universities and it collects more than $100 million in annual student loan payments. It collects payments for:
- Private student loans
- Refinanced student loans
- Institutional loans
- Primary care loans
- Health and nursing loans
- Virtual student loans
As a borrower, you don’t get to choose whether ECSI will be your servicer or not. Your lender assigns you to a servicer, and you’re notified if you’ll need to arrange payments including electronic payments with ECSI.
What Tuition Payment Plans Are Available?
ECSI not only offers students the option to pay back student loans, but it also provides tuition payment plans for eligible students. These plans make it possible to pay tuition to your school over several months – without incurring any late fees or other fees – instead of paying in one lump sum.
Tuition payment plan options vary by school. ECSI maintains a complete list of schools that allow payment plans. The list includes schools throughout the country, including in Arizona, Maryland, and West Virginia as well as in Boston, Mass., and Santa Fe, N.M.
To sign up for a payment plan and make a payment, visit the ECSI Payment Plan page and follow instructions to complete an application. Begin by clicking on the school you’re attending, and then select “Click here to get started.”
After signing in to access information, you can see available payment schedules that allow you to pay tuition, student fees, and student housing costs over several months rather than all at once at the start of the school year.
What Are People Saying About ECSI?
Heartland ECSI has received poor reviews from borrowers as a student loan servicer and in terms of the company’s customer service teams. A total of 148 complaints have been lodged with the Better Business Bureau about ECSI. Complaints include:
- ECSI processing payments twice, leading to insufficient funds in a checking account
- ECSI claiming they never received paperwork for Public Service Loan
- ECSI failing to set up an automatic payment plan and ACH transactions properly
- Long waits for customer support when contacting ECSI
Complaints Board also has received complaints about ECSI, including one borrower who lamented that ECSI’s business practices have been “opaque, exasperating, and downright predatory.”
Dealing With ECSI As Your Servicer
Considering the complaints, you may not want ECSI as your servicer – or you may be unhappy that they’ve been chosen to service your loans. Unfortunately, if you’re having trouble with ECSI as a servicer, there is little you can do about it because you can’t choose who processes your loans or who manages your tuition payment plan.
Your only options to switch servicers would be to consolidate eligible federal student loans with the Department of Education or to refinance your federal and/or private loans.
But, because ECSI services so many different loans, there’s no guarantee that either of these steps would provide you a new servicer.
Many other student loan servicers have also received complaints and have even been sued by borrowers, so a new servicer may not solve your problems anyway.
To protect yourself with any loan servicer, make sure you understand your obligations as a borrower, confirm all payments are made, and contact ECSI if something doesn’t seem right with your loans.