What Is MOHELA?

A university student studies on a laptop in a library.
•••

Tom Werner / Getty Images 

DEFINITION

MOHELA is a nonprofit student loan servicer that works with the U.S. Department of Education to manage billing and payments for federal student loans.

MOHELA is a nonprofit student loan servicer that works with the U.S. Department of Education to manage billing and payments for federal student loans. The Missouri-based company is a legitimate student loan servicer that's contracted to handle nearly 20% of the Department of Education's accounts.

You can find out how your student loan account ended up with MOHELA, then you can manage your financial relationship with the company if it has.

Definition and Example of MOHELA

MOHELA stands for Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority, a nonprofit company that manages billing and payments on many federal student loans. It’s one of 11 companies that are official student loan servicers for the federal government.

These servicers contract with the U.S. Department of Education to manage the accounts of students who receive federal student loans. MOHELA also services private student loans.

MOHELA is one of the highest-rated student loan servicers by Education Department standards. The Education Department tracks loan servicers’ customer satisfaction scores. It also monitors how well they keep borrowers out of default. MOHELA has some of the highest percentages of borrowers who are current on their loans of the nine servicers. It has the lowest rates of delinquency in nearly every category measured as of December 2020.

MOHELA is getting more business because the Education Department’s contracts reward higher-performing servicers. As of March 2021, 18% of new federal student loan volume was being allocated to MOHELA. This was the most assigned to any single servicer.

Great Lakes Educational Loan Services manages 15% of student loan accounts. The next most used servicers, Nelnet and Oklahoma Student Loan Authority (OSLA), manage 14%.

How MOHELA Works

The Education Department provides the money to the school’s student aid office when you apply for and receive a federal student loan. The Education Department hands the account off by assigning it to MOHELA or one of its other student loan servicers after the funds are disbursed. You don’t get to choose your loan servicer.

Your servicer is responsible for the following when you begin repaying your loans:

  • Handling billing and other services
  • Working with you on repayment options, such as income-driven repayment
  • Answering questions about your account
  • Assisting with tasks such as loan consolidation, interest rate reduction, loan forgiveness, or temporarily postponing payments

These services are offered for free. You can also contact MOHELA or access your account for free.

With a fifth of new federal student loans assigned to MOHELA for servicing, many borrowers will end up dealing with the company. Loan servicers manage everything from the first disbursement to the final payment, so you may be a MOHELA customer for many years.

Other legitimate student loan servicers include Granite State (GSMR), FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA), Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc., HESC/Edfinancial, Navient, and ECSI.

FedLoan Servicing and Navient are leaving the loan servicing business. Navient agreed to a $1.85 billion settlement to resolve accusations of predatory lending in January 2022.

You’re not required to make payments on your loan while you're still in school. But you should monitor your account balances and interest accruals anyway. You should also keep your contact information or enrollment status up to date, both before and after you begin repaying your loans. Your servicer must tell you when your repayment period begins.

The first place to check is your email inbox or records if there's any doubt about the identity of your servicer. Student loan servicers must notify you that they’ve received your loan.

You can also use your Federal Student Aid ID to log into the National Student Loan Data System. It should list your debt details, including your student loan balances and the servicer that's assigned to each one. The Education Department may need to transfer your loan to another servicer in some cases, and this can be confusing. You have one servicer and suddenly, for seemingly no reason, you have a different one.

If your loans are transferred to MOHELA or to another servicer, it's required to send you a welcome letter with contact info and any steps you may have to take. But the terms of your loan won't change.

Do I Need To Pay for Help With MOHELA?

Many scams target struggling borrowers, often charging steep fees for things MOHELA and other loan servicers are required to provide for free.

You can contact MOHELA directly to take advantage of its free services for managing your loans. Never work with or pay a company that:

  • Promises loan forgiveness or to instantly lower payments
  • Charges fees to contact your servicer for you or perform services that MOHELA does for free
  • Pressures you to act quickly to take advantage of "limited time" loan forgiveness
  • Asks for your Federal Student Aid ID
  • Asks for your MOHELA username and password
  • Asks you to grant them power of attorney for dealing with your student loans
  • Says your student loan servicer will be unwilling or unable to help you
  • Asks for your credit card or debit card information

MOHELA is an authentic company, but not everyone who contacts you about your student loans is reputable. It’s wise to doublecheck any student loan information you receive to protect yourself from scams and fraud.

You can also visit the MOHELA website to see whether a service being offered to you is genuine or might be a scam.

How Do I Get in Touch With MOHELA?

You can contact MOHELA in a few ways:

  • Create an online account at www.mohela.com.
  • Call 888-866-4352 between 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT Monday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT on Friday.
  • Fax 866-222-7060 to submit documents or send requests.
  • Send mail to MOHELA, 633 Spirit Drive, Chesterfield, MO 63005-1243.

Key Takeaways

  • Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) is a student loan servicer that works with the U.S. Department of Education to manage billing and payments for federal student loans.
  • The Missouri-based company is a legitimate student loan servicer that's contracted to handle nearly 20% of the Department of Education's accounts.
  • As your servicer, MOHELA is required to handle your billing and answer questions about your loans. It must work with you if you want to change your repayment plan.
  • The company provides these services for free.

Article Sources

  1. Federal Student Aid. "Who’s My Student Loan Servicer?"

  2. Federal Student Aid. "Servicer Performance Metrics and Allocation: Quarter Ending 12/31/2020." Download "Federal Servicer (TIVAS and NFP) Results."

  3. Federal Student Aid. "Servicer Performance Metrics and Allocation: Quarter Ending 12/31/2020." Download "Federal Servicer (TIVAS and NFP) Allocations."

  4. AttoneryGeneral.gov. "Attorney General Josh Shapiro Announces $1.85 Billion Landmark Settlement with Student Loan Servicer Navient."

  5. Federal Student Aid. "Student Loan Repayment."

  6. MOHELA. "Avoid Student Loan Scams."