While the U.S. Department of Education issues federal loans, they often delegate the servicing responsibilities of collecting monthly payments and other customer service needs to other organizations. For over 40 years, students attending college in Oklahoma have probably had their federal student loans serviced by the Oklahoma Student Loan Authority. Here is a detailed explanation of what the Oklahoma Student Loan Authority does behind the scenes to help federal borrowers.
Services Offered by the Oklahoma Student Loan Authority
Since 1972, the Oklahoma Student Loan Authority (OSLA) only services Federal Direct Loans and Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) although the latter program discontinued new originations in 2009.
OSLA is a non-profit organization that doesn’t receive any funding from the Oklahoma state government and solely relies on funds earned by managing their student loan portfolio.
The Authority has also been recognized repeatedly for exceptional customer service as they have continually ranked in the 90th percentile among federal student loan servicers. Since their founding, OSLA has serviced loans for over 130,000 student borrowers.
If you have OSLA as your student loan servicer, you are in luck as they are one of the best in the nation.
All borrowers that repay their federal loans within the standard 10-year repayment term are serviced by OSLA. Payments are deposited by the Authority. Borrowers can schedule automatic payments to be withdrawn from any checking account, schedule a one-time electronic payment, or mail a physical check if desired.
No additional fees are charged by OSLA, or other federal loan servicers, for managing the loans.
Direct Consolidation Loans
While it is possible to refinance federal student loans with a private lender, another option is to consolidate through a federal loan servicer like OSLA. Consolidated loans have several advantages including a single monthly payment and a potentially lower interest rate. Federal loans consolidated and serviced by the Oklahoma Student Loan Authority determine their interest rate by weighting the average of all the federal loans being combined together.
When you consider this against private student loan refinancing, it’s an easier alternative if you’re in trouble with your debt. Private refinancing is ideal for a borrower who brings great credit and high income to the table. While it can lower your interest rate, it’s inherently hard to qualify for on good terms.
Income-Driven Repayment and Loan Forgiveness Programs
OSLA can also help borrowers struggling to make their current monthly payment enroll in federal income-driven repayment plans and a loan forgiveness program. These plans help federal borrowers make ends meet by capping the monthly payment to 10% of their adjusted monthly income. They also allow extending the repayment terms to 20 or 25-years, after which any remaining loan balance is forgiven.
Select government employees can enroll in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program that will forgive any remaining federal loan balance after ten years of payment. To qualify for a forgiveness plan, except hardship cases, borrowers need to be enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan.
Military Service Member Loans
Members of the U.S. military with loans serviced by OSLA can also qualify for additional loan benefits. One such benefit might include loan discharge in some cases, but it must be stressed how tentative this case-by-case perk can be. These borrowers can receive assistance from OSLA by sending an e-mail to [email protected] or calling (844) 835-7484.
Contacting the Oklahoma Student Loan Authority
The Oklahoma Student Loan Authority is the primary point of contact for borrowers with loans serviced by them. They can be accessed by visiting their website and logging in the necessary student loan and OSLA membership information.
They can also be contacted by calling 866-264-9762 or e-mailing [email protected]. Their customer service representatives are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Standard Time between Monday and Friday.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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