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Student Loans Student Loan Repayment

Who Owns My Student Loans?

If you’re a student loan borrower, the owner of your debt depends on the type of student loans you have, and it may or may not be the company you deal with and send your monthly payments to. 

It’s more straightforward with federal student loans. However, that may not be the case with older loans, and with private student loans, the debt’s servicer and owner can be the same or different companies. 

We’ve compiled basic guidelines to determine who owns your student loans. 

In this guide:

How do I find out who owns my student loans?

It depends on whether you have federal or private student loans. That information is easy to find. Here’s what you should know to check your student loans.

Who owns my federal student loans?

The federal government owns most federal student loans via the U.S. Department of Education. However, the government agency doesn’t service its loans. Instead, it relies on private companies to handle payments, repayment plans, customer service, and more. 

A current list of federal loan servicers includes:

  • Great Lakes Educational Loan Services Inc.
  • Edfinancial
  • Higher Education Loan Authority of the State of Missouri (MOHELA)
  • Aidvantage
  • Nelnet
  • Oklahoma Student Loan Authority (OSLA) Servicing
  • Educational Computer Systems, Inc. (ECSI)
  • Default Resolution Group

Your loan servicer is the company you send payments to, so you can find out who your loan servicer is through communications you’ve received, on your latest billing statement, or by logging in to your Federal Student Aid account. 

If you have a Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program loan, however, your loan was guaranteed by the government, but a private lender owns it. The FFEL program expired in 2010, so these loans make up a small percentage of all federal student loans. 

In most cases, the owner of your loan is the company to which you send payments.

>>Read more: How do student loans work? 

Who owns my private student loan?

Private student loans differ because each lender sets terms and conditions, including who owns and services the debt.

In many cases, the company that owns and services the debt is the same. However, some lenders partner with other financial institutions to offer loans, and it’s common for lenders to outsource servicing to a third party. 

Some private student loan companies are subsidiaries of larger financial institutions, where the parent company may own the debt. 

Here’s a handful of examples:

LenderParent companyServicer
College Ave**N/AUniversity Account Service
ELFISouthEast BankMOHELA or American Education Services
Sallie MaeN/ASallie Mae
Ascent Student Loans***Skills Fund LLCLaunch Servicing

*Loans may be offered by One American Bank
**Loans may be offered by Firstrust Bank, First Citizens Community Bank, or M.Y. Safra Bank FSB
***Loans are offered by Richland State Bank

If you default on your private student loan debt, some lenders may opt to sell the debt to a collections agency, in which case the debt collector may own the debt. 

It’s straightforward to find out who owns your private student loan debt. You can sometimes check the fine print on the company’s website, which may provide details about servicing partners and parent companies. 

You can also check your original loan agreement, log in to your online account, or contact the customer service phone number.

Can I change who has my student loan?

It’s possible to switch loan servicers or lenders. However, you should be aware of the potential downsides before deciding. 

Here’s how to change your student loan servicer or lender.

From one federal loan servicer to another

Borrowers can use the Direct Loan Consolidation program to consolidate their loans with another federal servicer. 

This is possible even if you have FFEL program loans. If you apply for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, your loans are assigned to MOHELA, which manages the program.

From federal to private student loans 

If you have great credit and a solid income, you may be able to refinance your federal student loans with a private lender and take advantage of a lower interest rate, longer repayment term, and other benefits. 

Note, however, that you’ll also lose access to federal loan benefits and relief options, so consider your situation before proceeding.

From private to federal student loans

It’s not possible to convert private student loans to federal student loans. 

From one private lender to another

You can refinance private student loans with another private lender. Because private student loans don’t offer the same benefits as federal loans, you’ll encounter fewer downsides to refinancing private loans, mainly if you can get better terms and a better experience with a different lender.

Before you switch lenders or loan servicers, ensure you understand the process, potential benefits and drawbacks, and how the change may affect you in the short and long term.