The Why Behind the Questions: Walking you through a normal conversation with your Student Loan Servicer

Sometimes I even hate the questions we have to ask and the structure we have to follow.  But do remember that often times we are making sure that you are getting the best option and that we are following federal regulation.  Here is a typical example of what will be discussed with your servicer if a borrower is delinquent and can’t make payment and why each question is asked.

Thank you for calling your student loan servicer.  My name is Heath can I have your name?

This is both naturally being polite and getting your name for authentication purposes.  If you did not provide it previously, you will also be asked your date of birth and account number or social.

Okay so let’s go over some demographics.  I see you have an address of xxx, an email of and a phone number of xxxx.

This is just to make sure your information is up to date if we need to get ahold of you.

For phone it goes further if you have a mobile number:  Since that number is a mobile number may we contact you on that number using an auto dialer system and pre-recorded messages.  This will only be done if there is a problem with the account.

This is to company with TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act).  This act does not cover cell phones so we have to get permission to call you with the autodialer and pre-recorded messages.  If we don’t it can mean huge fines.  Now even if you say no someone will still call you just not the prerecorded.  And its only if there is a problem.  We don’t spam.  Also it will simply say something like “Please call us at this number to discuss an issue with your account.”

Our records currently show your account is delinquent xx number of days for a total of xxxx.   As a result you may be eligible for phone calls, letters, and the possibility of negative credit reporting.  Are you able to make a payment today?

This is required by law and its called due diligence.  We must advise the borrower when their account is past due and the consequences of this delinquency.  The more delinquent you are the more detailed due diligence usually becomes.  We also want to know your situation so we ask if you are able to make a payment.  This helps us figure out where to go next with our questions.

Is your monthly payment affordable?  How about a lower payment?

Sometimes your past due is too much to make up but you can afford your regular payment.  If this is the case we will use a General Forbearance if you have time.  Also since there are lower payments available we want to investigate those.  It is our obligation to keep you in repayment if possible especially since some payment plans are as low as $0.00.

If you can’t afford any payment lets look at some deferment options first then some forbearance options.

We know you just want a General Forbearance and to get off the phone but deferments are better for you as the governments pays the interest on subsidized loans and we want to save your General Forbearance time for when you may need it when nothing else works.

Are you working?  If so are you working at least 30 hours.

This helps determine if you qualify for the Unemployment Deferment where you must be working less than 30 hours:

If yes:  What is your family size?  Do you make below xx?

We are figure out if you qualify for an Economic Hardship Deferment.  We may just also ask what you make before taxes.

If no: Are you collecting Unemployment or registered with an Employment Agency actively seeking work?

This helps you figure out if you qualify for Unemployment Deferment

Are you receive state or federal assistance such as Food Stamps, WIC, etc?

This help to know if you qualify for another criteria in the Economic Hardship Deferment

We will then often times take the income from earlier and figure out if you qualify for the Student Loan Debt Burden Forbearance (at least 20% of income is taken up by student loan payment).  If this fails we will put your account on a General Forbearance if you have time.

Like I said previously I know these questions may seem arduous but we are trying to avoid fines, meet federal regulations and get you the best result.  There are so many other examples you can follow but this is a very typical call.  If you have a more typical example I’d love to talk about it!

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