By: Reyna Gobel MBA, MJ
Last month, I got an email from my college that I had a default and wouldn’t be able to get financial aid until it was fixed. Not only that, but I was over my lifetime loan limit. I was shocked. First, I don’t have any defaults. I check studentaid.gov, the website where information on both new and past federal student aid is located, at least once per semester to make sure all my loans are on track and accurately reported.
Here’s what I did to get the mistake fixed:
Logged in to Studentaid.gov
When I logged in to studentaid.gov, I say over $70,000 in loans I didn’t borrow. What happened was I consolidated my loans to Direct Loans, but the old servicer still showed the loans existing on my report And it ended up being reported by the guaranty agency because I was no longer paying them.
Note: When you see something like this on yout student aid rpeort, it may also leak on to your credit report. Log on to annualcreditreport.com to get free access to all your reports. File disputes on errors needed.
When I saw the error I called the Department of Education immediately to see if they could fix it or what to do next. Timeframe was really important, because I didn’t want my student aid application rejected for next semester. They told me I needed to submit a complaint via studentaid.gov. But contact the gauranty agency first. Why? The guaranty agency would fix the problem faster.
Called the Guaranty Agency.
I found the phone number for the gauranty agency on studentloans.gov In my student aid report. They explained to me why the mistake happened and then submitted to fix it immediately and sent an email to my college. I accepted an email message I received by logging into the account from my former servicer before Direct Loans.
Contacted My College Financial Aid Office.
Figuring the letter from the guaranty agency would reinstate my eligibility for financial aid, I recontacted the school. They told me to get it fixed through federal student aid.
Logged Back on Studentloans.gov
I went back on studentloans.gov and submitted a complaint with a screen shot showing the problem. Within 2 weeks, everything was fixed. My final step was showing the school again.
Mistakes can happen on your student aid report, just as they can on your credit report. Check your student aid reports regularly, whether you are in school or a graduate. If still in school, check about a month before registration begins for the following semester to avoid registration issues. While you’re at it, check your credit reports, too, every 6 months or so.