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OSLA, or the Oklahoma Student Loan Authority, is a federal student loan servicer with more than 40 years of experience helping students manage and repay their student loans.

OSLA was established by the state of Oklahoma as a public trust in 1972 specifically to benefit Oklahomans, but the company has serviced Federal Direct and Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) for more than 130,000 student borrowers all across the country and might be your servicer regardless of your location.

Continue reading to learn more about what OLSA does, and how they can help you successfully manage and repay your federal student loans.

What does OSLA do?

OSLA, as a federal student loan servicer, is a sort of middleman between the Dept. of Education and borrowers of federal student loans, responsible for processing student loan paperwork, collecting payments, and helping borrowers manage their loans.

Though these are its core duties, the company is also responsible for performing a number of other services as required by the federal government, including:

Though many student loan servicers support both private and federal student loans, OSLA only services federal student loans. Very specifically, they only service Federal Direct Loans and loans disbursed through the (now defunct) Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program.

This means that OSLA may be your servicer if you:

  • Borrowed a loan under the FFELP before it was terminated in 2010
  • Borrowed either a Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, Consolidation, or PLUS Loan

If you aren’t sure whether OSLA is your student loan servicer, you should read this article to learn how you can find your student loan servicer using the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

How to make OSLA student loan payments

If your federal student loans are serviced by OSLA and you would like to make a payment, it is important to understand that your payment options are different depending on whether you have a Direct Loan or an FFEL Loan.

If you have a Direct Loan serviced by OSLA, you can log in through this portal to access your student loan account and make payments online. You can also make payments by signing up for OSLA’s automatic payment system called KwikPay, or by mailing a check.

Alternatively, if you have an FFEL Loan serviced by OSLA, you should log in using this portal. Like with Federal Direct loans, you can pay online, by check, or by signing up for EZ Pay, the automatic payment system for FFEL Loans.

Not sure whether your student loan is a Direct or FFEL Loan? Here’s an easy way to tell:

  • If your account number begins with the number 8 or the letter F, then you have a Direct Loan
  • If your account number begins with a 0 and no letters, then you have an FFEL Loan

What to do if you can’t make your student loan payments

Borrowers who are having difficulty managing their student loan payments have a number of options available to help make paying back their loans easier.

1. Change the due date

If you are unable to make your student loan payment due to other monthly obligations like your rent, credit card, or other payments, you may be able to change your due date so that it falls at a different point in the month, when you know you will have the funds and fewer obligations.

To request a change of due date, simply contact OSLA’s customer service department and explain your situation.

2. Change your payment plan

Like other federal student loan servicers, OSLA offers a number of different repayment plans to borrowers that are designed to make repayment easier.

Keep in mind that some of these are available to all borrowers, while some are dependent on your income levels.

Payment plans available to all borrowers include:

  • Standard Repayment: In this payment plan, you’ll pay the same amount per month throughout the life of your loan
  • Graduated Repayment: In this payment plan, you’ll make smaller payments at the beginning of your loan repayment and the payment amount will grow over the life of the loan
  • Extended Repayment: In this payment plan, you’ll have reduced monthly payments—but you’ll be paying a lot longer, leading to much higher total interest payments over the life of the loan

Payment plans that are available based on income, family size and other eligibility requirements include:

  • Income-Based Repayment (IBR): This plan is available for most FFELP and Direct Loans. If your loan originated on or after July 1, 2014, you’ll pay 10% of your after-tax income and you’ll make payments for 20 years, at which point any remaining balance will be forgiven. If your loan was originated before then, you’ll pay 15% of your after-tax income and you’ll need to pay for 25 years to reach forgiveness
  • Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR): This plan is available for Direct Loans only. You’ll pay either 20%of your after-tax income or the amount that you would pay on a repayment plan with a fixed payment over the course of 12 years (adjusted according to your income)—whichever is lower. After 25 years of making payments, any remaining balance will be forgiven
  • Pay As You Earn (PAYE): This plan is available for Direct Loans only. You’ll pay 10%of your after-tax income, but no more than what you’d pay on the standard repayment plan. After 20 years the balance of your loans will be forgiven
  • Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE): This plan is available for Direct Loans only. You’ll pay 10%of your after-tax income. Any remaining balance on undergraduate loans will be forgiven after 20 years, and any remaining balance on graduate loans will be forgiven after 25 years of qualified payments. Remember that you could be taxed on any balance that is forgiven through an income-based program.
  • These repayment plans each have their own eligibility requirements and are available for borrowers with federal student loans. You can estimate how much your monthly bill will change by using this repayment estimator.

3. Place your loans into deferment or forbearance

Students who are experiencing true financial hardship may decide that they need to place their student loans in deferment or forbearance, two options available to all borrowers with federal student loans.

Student loan deferment is a process in which you can temporarily stop making your monthly payments on federal student loans.

If you have federal student loans, you can qualify for deferment by meeting certain eligibility requirements such as:

  • Being enrolled at least half-time as a student
  • For up to three years while experiencing economic hardship such as unemployment
  • When you’re on active military duty during war, a military operation, or a national emergency
  • You are disabled or caring for someone who is disabled
  • You are on leave from work due to pregnancy or while caring for your newborn child or newly-adopted child

If your loans are federally subsidized, you won’t need to worry about interest accruing while your loans are in deferment.

If your loans are unsubsidized, though, you’ll either need to pay off the interest as it accrues or at the end of your deferment—or it will be added to the balance of your loan as principal, where it can begin accruing interest of its own.

Student loan forbearance is more or less the same thing as deferment—an option to pause your student loan payments. The main differences are that during forbearance, students are responsible for paying all interest that accrues (even on subsidized student loans) and eligibility requirements.

Before using deferment or forbearance to stop making payments, it’s very important that you do your research to figure out whether your interest will continue to accrue and how much each option will cost you over the life of the loan.

Very often, outside of true economic emergencies, you’ll find that an income-dependent repayment plan may be more beneficial than deferment and forbearance.

What are the interest rates and fees for OSLA student loans?

Though you may think that OSLA is in charge of the interest rate for your loans, the reality is that interest rates on federal student loans are set by the U.S. Congress.

Not sure what the interest rate is for your student loans being serviced by OSLA? You can find that information in a number of ways:

  • Logging into your account and navigating to your loan details
  • Contacting an OSLA student loan representative to ask
  • Looking at your monthly student loan statement
  • Logging into the National Student Loan Database (NSLDS) to view your student loan details

Though your student loan servicer does not set your interest rate, in some cases you may be able to lower your interest rate by signing up for direct debit (or automatic payments).

Unfortunately, though OSLA offers automatic payments for both Direct and FFEL Loans, signing up will not lower your interest rate. That means that if your loans are serviced by OSLA and you’d like to lower your rates, you’ll need to consider refinancing your student loans.

Refinancing your OSLA student loan

Refinancing your student loans is the process of taking out a new loan to pay off the existing loan, and is often done to:

  • Get a lower interest rate
  • Reduce monthly payments
  • Shorten the term of a loan
  • Convert a variable-rate loan into a fixed-rate loan
  • Achieve some combination of these benefits

Depending on the terms of your original loan and your new loan, refinancing your student loans has the potential to help you save thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. It could also make paying back your student loans easier by, for example, reducing your monthly payments to more manageable amounts.

Wondering if it’s worth it for you to refinance your student loan? If interest rates have fallen significantly since you took out your loan, you have significantly improved your credit score, or you’ve improved your debt-to-income ratio since taking out your loans, refinancing is likely to be beneficial

It’s important to keep in mind that if you refinance a federal student loan, it ceases to be a federal student loan. It becomes a private student loan, and that means you’ll be giving up valuable benefits like deferment and forbearance options, forgiveness eligibility, and more. It’s important that you keep the trade-offs in mind before deciding either way.

If you’re not interested in refinancing your student loans to achieve a lower interest rate, but instead simply want to make your student loans simpler to handle, then consolidation might be a better option for you.

While similar to refinancing in some regards, consolidation, and refinancing are different in some pretty important ways, so it would be wise to fully understand both options before settling your plan.

OSLA student loan reviews

Generally speaking, unless a borrower decides to refinance their federal student loan with a private lender, they don’t have any control over who their student loan servicer will be. That decision is made by the federal government.

Still, borrowers should be armed with all of the information they need in order to be able to make an informed decision about their servicer, including whether or not they should stay or consider refinancing with a different lender. It’s also important that you understand what your servicer is and isn’t allowed to do.

Reading reviews from other customers is one way to gain some valuable insight into how OSLA operates. That being said, as with any financial organization, OSLA has received many reviews from borrowers, both positive and negative, so it is important to take any review with a grain of salt.

Looking at both the Better Business Bureau and Yelp will reveal predominantly negative reviews, with complaints largely focused on the company’s customer service, loan collection practices, and lack of communication.

But according to an internal survey conducted by OSLA, customer satisfaction has been consistently high across a number of areas.

Where OSLA stands out

As one of only nine organizations approved to service federal student loans, OSLA has had to meet strict requirements.

Some examples of what OSLA does well include:

  • Multiple Ways to Pay: OSLA offers borrowers multiple ways to pay and manage their student loans, whether you prefer to pay online, by mail, or with automatic payments.
  • Modern Communication: In addition to the standard forms of communication like mail, email, and phone, OSLA recognizes that today’s borrowers are extremely active in social media, and as such has a presence on Facebook.
  • Prompt Conflict Resolution: In each instance that a customer lodged a complaint against OSLA through the BBB, the company promptly responded and aimed to either explain or correct the situation.

Where OSLA falls short

Though OSLA excels in many areas as a servicer, there are some areas where it could stand to improve:

  • Outdated Website: OSLA’s website is in serious need of an update in both design and functionality. Their current site is not mobile-friendly, making it difficult to login and manage your payments on the go.
  • Confusing Web Layout: The fact that OSLA has two different payment systems and versions of their website—one for Direct Loan borrowers and one for FFEL Loan borrowers—makes it incredibly difficult and frustrating to find the information that you are looking for, especially if you are logging into the system for the first time.
  • Hidden Contact Information: For some reason, OSLA makes it fairly difficult for borrowers to find their contact information, requiring them to login first.
  • Customer Service: Though some borrowers are happy with OSLA’s customer service, many specifically cite the company’s customer service as a weakness.

How to contact OSLA to discuss your student loans

If you find yourself needing to contact OSLA to discuss your federal student loans, you can do so in a number of ways: By logging into your account online, by phone, by email, and by mail.

Phone
To speak to an OSLA representative by phone, you can call 866-264-9762. The hours of operation for their call center are Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 5 pm CST.

Online
If you’d prefer to contact OSLA’s customer service online, you can either email them at DLcustserv@osla.org or log into your online account.

Direct Loan borrowers should log in here, and FFEL Loan borrowers should log in here.

For members of the military
If you are a member of the US military looking for information about your benefits, you have some additional options available to you.

Phone: 844-835-7484
Fax: 855-813-2224
Email: MilitaryBenefits@osla.org

Mail
If you’d like to reach out to OSLA by mail, you can send correspondence related to Direct Loans to:

OSLA
P.O. Box 18475
OKC, OK 73154-0475

Social Media
OSLA also has a presence on Facebook, which it uses to both distribute information and communicate with borrowers.

Final thoughts

With more than 40 years of experience helping students navigate the world of federal student loans, OSLA has earned a reputation as a trusted federal student loan servicer.

That being said, there are countless reasons that college graduates whose loans are serviced by OSLA may decide to refinance or consolidate their loans with another lender.

Only Credible lets you instantly compare the best student loan refinancing rates from OSLA as well as other top lenders. With Credible, you can compare the best options with no hidden fees, without affecting your credit score, and the assurance that your data is totally secure.