Know Your Rights

Student loans are complicated financial agreements and the repayment process can be difficult to understand. Loan servicers play a key role—they send your monthly bills and process your loan payments. Servicers are also responsible for helping you understand your options for paying off your loans and helping you pick the path that’s right for you.

When loan servicers do not act properly, borrowers can be left suffering from the consequences. In 2019, Rhode Island enacted the Student Loan Bill of Rights, one of the strongest laws of its kind in the nation, to protect borrowers, ensure that they are treated fairly and hold servicers accountable when their fail to meet their obligations.

It is important for Rhode Islanders to know and exercise their rights under the new Student Loan Bill of Rights. If you believe your servicer has failed to provide you with the information and/or service described below, consider submitting a complaint to the RI Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.

Your Rights

You have the right to accurate and complete information about the terms of your loan and your progress toward repayment.

When you ask for this information about your loan, your servicer must provide it to you.

You have the right to know your eligibility for any loan relief or repayment programs and your servicer must treat you the same as other borrowers with similar financial circumstances.

If you are eligible for any loan repayment or forgiveness programs, like the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program or Income-Based Repayment, your servicer must tell you about these options. Your servicers also must notify you if a loan modification, such as a refinancing or forbearance, will cause you to lose your eligibility for any loan relief program.

You have the right to knowledgeable and prompt customer service about your loan.

When you ask your servicer for information, they must respond to you within 10 business days.

You have the right to have your loan payments applied to your account in the ways that most benefit you.

If it is not specified in your loan contract, servicers must ask you how you would like any over payments to be applied to your account. If you have multiple loans, servicers must apply partial payments in ways that minimize late fees and the impact on your credit score.

You have the right to a seamless transfer if your loan is serviced by a new company.

If your loan changes hands from one servicer to another, the servicers must ensure that all records are transferred, that the new servicer honors all benefits previous servicers made available to you, and the servicers must tell you about the transfer before your next payment is due.

You have the right to have your accurate payment history reported to credit agencies.

Your servicer must provide accurate payment history information to credit reporting agencies.

If a servicer deceives, misleads, or defrauds you, you may have the right to sue them.

When servicers engage in unfair or deceptive practices in servicing a student loan, they may be violating Rhode Island’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act. You can consult a private attorney about enforcing your rights under the new Student Loan Bill of Rights.