If you’ve completed the steps to resolve your dispute and you believe the answer you received is wrong or incomplete, 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 aid.
Contact the Ombudsman Group as a last resort. Make every effort to resolve your disputes 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;
- resolve issues with Federal Pell Grant disbursements or overpayments;
- review TEACH Grant conversions to loans;
- 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
- serve as your advocate;
- overturn the decisions of other entities or make binding decisions;
- 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 in federal court; or
- testify or serve as a witness in a formal hearing or legal proceeding.
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 information do you have to show a previous decision on the problem was wrong or incomplete?
- 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 assistance request form through the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Feedback System. If you previously filed a complaint through the FSA Feedback System, you can log in, add information to your existing case, and request to file a dispute.
Remember, the Ombudsman Group can help resolve disputes about federal student aid. 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 have that person fill out the form in the FSA Feedback System and indicate that they are filling out the form on behalf of someone else.
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.
Here are some resources that might provide more help with your student loans.
- 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