Student loans can be expensive, but a few preventative steps can help avoid unnecessary costs.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently issued a warning to consumers to pay close attention to their personal information on record with student loan servicers as errors are popping up that can cost borrowers hundreds of dollars more in additional student loan debt.
The watchdog agency said the problems are tied to incorrect or incomplete enrollment status information. Enrollment status tracks when someone is enrolled and expected to graduate. This information is used to calculate when repayment and interest compounding begins.
Here are some tips on how to catch errors:
The CFPB suggests consumers monitor their enrollment status, particularly if they've recently left or returned to school.
When you are leaving school, make sure you know when your first payment is due to avoid surprise bills. There's typically a grace period of six months after graduation before payment is due, but colleges report graduation dates differently and that's what sets your repayment date.
Let your school know if you are going to leave college early or if you are headed back to school. And update your servicer as well as this may help avoid potential hiccups that might trigger untimely bills.
If something doesn't look right, tell your servicer - that's the organization you pay each month - to fix it.
Errors in enrollment status can occur as the information is passed through various hands. Your servicer may be using outdated or inaccurate information and you can submit updated information from your college to correct it.
Also consider contacting the registrar's office at your school to ensure your enrollment status is being reported correctly. If you recently transferred or returned to school, you can also update your information on the Department of Education's National Student Loan Data website.
If you run into a problem getting accurate or timely information about your enrollment status from your servicer, submit a complaint with the CFPB. You can do that online or by calling them at 855-411-2372.