If you’ve completed the steps to resolve your loan dispute and you still are not satisfied, you may need to contact the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Ombudsman Group of the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The Ombudsman Group is a neutral, informal, and confidential resource to help resolve disputes about your federal student loans.
Contact the Ombudsman Group as a last resort. Make every effort to resolve your student loan problems before contacting the Ombudsman Group.
How can the Ombudsman Group help me?
How do I get prepared before contacting FSA’s Ombudsman Group?
How do I contact the Ombudsman Group?
What if I want to give permission for somebody else to act on my behalf?
What can I expect after I request assistance from the Ombudsman Group?
Where can I get additional information?
They can help you
- resolve discrepancies with loan balances and payments;
- explain loan interest and collection charges;
- identify options for resolving your issues related to consolidation, service quality, default status, bankruptcy, income tax refund offsets, and other concerns;
- clarify requirements for loan deferment or forbearance and loan cancellation or discharge; and
- identify loan repayment options.
They do not
- automatically take your side in a complaint;
- make binding decisions or overturn the decisions of other entities;
- accept complaints about grants;
- accept complaints about private student loans;
- accept complaints when ED has already begun formal or legal investigations;
- accept loan payments or process deferment, forbearance, or discharge requests (you must contact your loan servicer or collection agency directly);
- replace regular or formal channels of problem resolution within ED; or
- testify or serve as a witness.
Take the following steps to help you prepare for a discussion with the Ombudsman Group.
- Complete the relevant information on the Ombudsman Information Checklist.
- Clearly think about your desired outcome. Answer the following questions:
- What is the problem?
- What is your expectation?
- What is preventing you from resolving your issue?
- Are you willing to complete the necessary actions to achieve your desired outcome?
If you’ve completed the preparation steps above, and you have done everything you can to resolve your dispute, contact the Ombudsman Group through one of these methods:
U.S. Department of Education
Or complete the secure and confidential Ombudsman Assistance Request Form. Remember, the Ombudsman Group can help resolve disputes about federal student loans. If you have a dispute about your private student loan, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
If you’d like somebody else, such as a family member or friend, to work directly with the Ombudsman Group regarding your student loan issue, then complete this Privacy Release Statement & Third Party Release Form (.doc) or Privacy Release Statement & Third Party Release Form (PDF). If you have already given your representative power of attorney, then they may submit that (to the address or fax number listed in the table above) as proof of your authorization to act on your behalf.
You can expect the FSA Ombudsman Group to
- research your problem and review any supporting information you share;
- work with you and other offices within ED, your school, your lender, your loan guaranty agency, and the loan servicer or collection agency;
- assist you in identifying and evaluating your options for resolving specific concerns; and
- when necessary, refer you to the appropriate office or organization.
Ombudsman Process Chart
Here are some resources that might provide more help with your loan.
- For private student loan concerns, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- Debt Resolution
- FFEL forms—If you have an FFEL Program loan, please contact your lender for necessary forms. You'll find a list of FFEL guarantors in ED's Directory of Guaranty Agencies.
- Total and Permanent Disability Discharge application—Send this form to your loan servicer if you want to apply for a Total and Permanent Disability Discharge.