On June 24, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it had signed contracts with five companies who would act as student loan servicers after the department’s current contracts expire. While that list contained a number of familiar names, it also included a few new ones: Including F.H. Cann & Associates.
While F.H. Cann & Associates is not yet officially a student loan servicer for the Direct Loan program, it is very likely that they will be.
Curious what that means for your student loans? Below, we take a look at who F.H. Cann & Associates is, what they do, and the role that they will be responsible for playing as a federal student loan servicer.
Who is F.H. Cann & Associates?
F.H. Cann & Associates has been in business since 1999, and specializes in providing “accounts receivable management solutions” to federal, state, and local governments, in addition to the telecommunications, utility, healthcare, education, and financial services industries.
While the company is headquartered in North Andover, Massachusetts, they also have offices in Sharonville, Ohio, and service accounts across the United States.
What does F.H. Cann & Associates do?
In simple terms, F.H. Cann & Associates works to collect payments for the companies and organizations that contract with them. As such, they currently perform many of the same duties as is typical of student loan servicers. In the education space specifically, they offer services such as:
- Loan origination
- Loan servicing
- Financial literacy
- Default prevention
- Account resolution
- Debt collection
Pending the finalization of their contract with the Department of Education, this means that F.H. Cann & Associates will perform the following duties for borrowers of federal student loans:
- Managing the overall status of your student loan account
- Collecting and applying your monthly student loan payments
- Processing any student loan paperwork you may submit
- Helping you understand the different student loan repayment plans you may qualify for
- Helping you understand and apply for student loan deferment and forbearance, as well as forgiveness and discharge
Types of Loans Serviced by F.H. Cann & Associates
Currently, F.H. Cann & Associates offers student loan default prevention and resolution services for student loans that were made through the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). Pending the finalization of their contract with the Department of Education, they are very likely to play an integral role in servicing loans made through the Direct Loan Program, including:
- Direct Subsidized Loans
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans
- Direct Parent PLUS Loans
- Direct Graduate PLUS Loans
- Direct Consolidation Loans
Alternatives to F.H. Cann & Associates
Currently, F.H. Cann & Associates does not service any Direct Loans. That being said, once their contract with the Department of Education is finalized, they will officially become a student loan servicer for such loans. As such, you may find that your loan is transferred to F.H. Cann and Associates.
If you are worried about this transition, or are unhappy with your experience with the company, you may be wondering if you will be able to transfer your loans to a new servicer. The short answer: No. The Department of Education typically reserves the right to decide your servicer, and they are unlikely to consider any requests for transfers.
That being said, you may have some options available: Namely, student loan consolidation or refinancing.
Student Loan Consolidation
If you have multiple federal student loans, you can choose to consolidate them into a single new loan (called a Direct Consolidation Loan). When applying for consolidation, you can choose to either stay with your existing servicer or request a new one.
If you are unhappy with your experience with F.H. Cann & Associates, then during consolidation you should request a new servicer. While this request is sometimes unable to be granted, it very often will be.
While consolidation can be a great way of transferring to a new servicer, and can also help you keep track of your student loans more easily, it also comes with some downsides: It can reset the clock on student loan forgiveness, for example, or change the repayment plans that you are eligible for. For that reason, make sure you understand the pros and cons of consolidation before moving forward.
Student Loan Refinancing
Another option is to refinance your student loans through a private student loan company. By undergoing the refinancing process, you will essentially convert your federal student loan into a private student loan. As such, you have final say over who you want your lender to be; the Department of Education cannot choose your servicer for you.
Refinancing can also help you qualify for lower monthly payments or a lower interest rate, but it means that you will need to forfeit certain borrower protections that come with federal student loans. Again, it’s very important that you understand the pros and cons of refinancing your student loans before you make a decision either way.