You might think that only you, your school, and your lender are interested in your student loans. Most student loans, however, are set up between you, your school, your lender, the United States Department of Education (DOE), and what are called “guaranty agencies.”
It is important for you to know who these other parties are, why they are involved, and why they might contact you.
Most student loans are guaranteed or subsidized by the federal government. These loans are sometimes called FFELs (Federal Family Education Loans), GSLs (Guaranteed Student Loans), Stafford loans, Perkins Loans or PLUS Loans.
“Guaranteed" or "subsidized" means that while you are in school, the DOE pays the interest on your loan. When you leave school and start to pay the loan back yourself, the DOE still pays part of the interest. This lets you pay a low interest rate.
In most states, a guaranty agency will act as a middle-man between the lender and the DOE. Each state has its own state guaranty agency. In Illinois it is called the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC). But there are many private, nonprofit, guaranty agencies like USA Funds (USAF) and the Higher Education Assistance Foundation (HEAF).
Other agencies involved in collecting student loans
Sometimes you will get a notice from a company, agency, or lender who is not the lender that gave you your loans. If you do get a notice, it is probably because your student loans have been sold or transferred for collection.
Updated: June 2017