People who feel they have been wronged by student loan servicer Navient Corp. have a few options for what to do next, a student loan expert said.
Navient, which used to be part of Sallie Mae and is the nation's largest servicer of student loans, was sued Wednesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The federal agency accuses it of cheating borrowers by ignoring complaints, giving inaccurate information, incorrectly processing payments and steering borrowers to higher-cost repayment plans.
Borrowers who feel that their situation fits those listed in the lawsuit can file a complaint with the CFPB, said Persis Yu, director of the National Consumer Law Center's student loan borrower assistance program.
Complaints can be filed through the CFPB website or by calling (855) 411-2372.
"It is really important to get those complaints to the CPFB so they can better target future lawsuits like this, and also if this lawsuit gets to the point of settlement, help them frame what kind of relief could be available to borrowers," Yu said.
In the past, she said, some borrowers have been able to resolve issues by initiating a complaint with the CPFB.
Yu said borrowers should also do their homework about loan repayment options.
If they feel that they were steered into forbearance — which allows borrowers to suspend payments for a while but does not stop interest from accruing — and that they would actually qualify for a less costly income-driven repayment plan, borrowers should call Navient to request a change, she said.
"It is really [Navient's] job to help borrowers through this process," she said. "Typically, borrowers who are informed about their options are able to access what they need."
Borrowers also can go to studentloans.gov to apply for an income-driven repayment plan or to consolidate other federal loans, she said.