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1.12.1.1 Federal Student Loan Ombudsman

The Department of Education (the Department) federal student aid ombudsman group has a website, and borrowers can submit requests for assistance resolving problems with their loans or loan servicing or collection online on the Federal Student Aid website.340 The toll-free phone number is 1-877-557-2575; the fax number is 606-396-4821; and the mailing address is U.S. Department of Education, FSA Ombudsman Group, P.O. Box 1843, Monticello, KY 42633.341

The ombudsman group’s stated goal is to facilitate and provide creative options for borrowers needing assistance with federal loans, Direct Loans, FFEL Program loans, SLS loans, and Perkins Loans. The ombudsman group will research problems and determine if borrowers have been treated fairly. It will also contact other offices within the Department, private lenders, and guaranty agencies to assist borrowers. However, the ombudsman office strongly emphasizes that it serves as a last resort, to be consulted only after a borrower has tried to resolve a problem on his or her own. The ombudsman does not assist with private loans and will contact private lenders only if they are part of the government loan programs. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ombudsman handles complaints about private loans.342

In July 2016, the Department launched the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Feedback System,343 an online portal designed to allow individuals to submit complaints, provide positive feedback, and report suspicious activity relating to their experience with the federal aid programs.344 Feedback may be submitted online, or via a live agent at 1-844-651-0077; the mailing address is Federal Student Aid Feedback Center, P.O. Box 1966, Monticello, KY 42633. An individual who makes a complaint through the system should expect to hear back from the Department within fifteen days and, if applicable, be provided a resolution of the complaint within sixty days. An individual who reports suspicious activity—for instance, information regarding a school or person that may have violated federal law regarding student aid—will have his or her identity protected by the Department in accordance with the Department of Labor’s Whistleblower Protection Program.345

Footnotes

  • 340 {340} See U.S. Dep’t of Educ., Fed. Student Aid, Contacting the Ombudsman, https://studentaid.ed.gov.

  • 341 {341} See U.S. Dept. of Educ., Dear Colleague Letter, GEN-16-04, Contact Information for the FSA Student Loan Ombudsman (Feb. 11, 2016).

  • 342 {342} See § 1.12.1.3, infra.

  • 343 {343} U.S. Dep’t of Educ., Electronic Announcement, Federal Student Aid Launches Online Feedback System (July 1, 2016) (stating that students, parents, and borrowers who submit complaints will “receive timely, meaningful resolution to their issues”), available at https://ifap.ed.gov.

  • 344 {344} U.S. Dep’t of Educ., Fed. Student Aid, FSA Feedback System, available at https://feedback.studentaid.ed.gov. See U.S. Dep’t of Educ., Fed. Student Aid, Federal Student Aid Feedback System Annual Report (Dec. 2017) (covering the period of July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017), available at https://studentaid.ed.gov.

  • 345 {345} See U.S. Dep’t of Educ., Fed. Student Aid, FSA Feedback System, available at https://feedback.studentaid.ed.gov.