Key takeaways

  • CornerStone was previously one of eight approved federal student loan servicing agencies that provided loans nationwide.
  • Although Cornerstone was contracted to service loans through 2022, the contract was ended due to Cornerstone's financial losses in October 2020.
  • If you borrowed from CornerStone, your loan has been transferred to one of the other loan servicing agencies, which include MOHELA, Aidvantage, Nelnet or Edfinancial.

CornerStone Education Loan Services was managed by the Utah Higher Education Assistance and was previously one of eight approved federal student loan servicing agencies. Due to financial loss, however, the company also canceled its contract with the U.S. Department of Education in 2020. This, in turn, resulted in roughly 1 million loans being transferred to FedLoan Servicing from CornerStone in 2022.

However, FedLoan Servicing has since ended its contract with the U.S. Department of Education. In turn, the loans that were being serviced by both CornerStone and subsequently FedLoan Servicing have been transferred to other active loan servicing companies.  That can make it difficult for borrowers whose loans were with CornerStone to understand what’s next for the money they borrowed. If you’re wondering what you should know if CornerStone was your student loan servicer, here’s what to expect.

What happened to CornerStone Education Loan Services?

The Department of Education doesn’t directly handle the management and repayment of federal student loans. Instead, it contracts that work out to loan servicing companies like Navient, Nelnet, Great Lakes and MOHELA, among others.

When your loan is disbursed, it automatically gets assigned to one of these servicers, which will manage your loans until they’re paid off.

CornerStone was at one point one of the eight approved companies used to service federal student loans. While the company serviced loans nationwide, it was managed by the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA). CornerStone was originally contracted to service federal loans through 2022, but it ended its contract in October 2020 due to financial loss. Its website no longer exists, and all loans were transferred to FedLoan Servicing.

However, FedLoan stopped servicing federal student loans after December 2022 and the Department of Education then transferred the loans it was servicing to Nelnet, Edfinancial, Aidvantage or MOHELA.

What will happen to my CornerStone Education Loan Services loans?

If you were one of the 1 million borrowers with a CornerStone loan, your loan has been transferred to another loan servicing agency. Since FedLoan is no longer in the student loan servicing industry, your loan was likely moved to one of four servicers: MOHELA, Nelnet, Aidvantage or Edfinancial.

If your loan was transferred to another loan servicer, it was at no cost to you, and all of your loan details should remain the same. You should still be able to track your loan information, manage repayment and possibly reap extra benefits. For instance, your new servicer might have an autopay discount option available, saving you money on interest every month if you set it up.

If your loan was transferred, you should have received an email or a letter from your new servicer about the transfer. This letter should have included instructions with any next steps you need to take, like completing an online registration and setting up payment information.

If you’re unsure which company is your loan servicer, you can check through the Federal Student Aid website or look at your credit reports. It’s smart to keep copies of your last few statements. That way, if anything seems amiss, you can get that sorted out with your new servicer.

Can I change my loan servicer?

You can’t usually change the loan servicer that’s been assigned to you, although there are a few exceptions. If you apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan in order to combine all of your existing federal loans, for instance, you can select a servicer to manage your new loan.

You can also change loan servicers when you refinance your student loans. Refinancing turns all your federal loans to private, giving you new loan terms and a new interest rate. However, refinancing your federal student loans means you lose all your federal benefits, like income-driven repayment, access to forgiveness programs and administrative forbearances. Once complete, you can’t go back. But it does give you a new student loan servicer.

Consolidating and refinancing are not the best options for everyone, so changing servicers may not be on the table. If you have complaints about your servicer, you can file them with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) or your state attorney general’s office.

The bottom line

There’s nothing you can do to stop your federal student loans from being transferred to another servicer, as happened with CornerStone and then with FedLoan. But getting a new servicer shouldn’t be intimidating. The new company must honor the original terms of your student loans. That means your payments and balance won’t change at all and you will still have access to the same federal protections you did with your previous servicer.

The only thing you’ll need to do is create a new account with the new servicer and continue making payments as usual.