National Student Loans Service Center suffers delays as requests for help skyrocket
Crowds of former students were unable to reach the Canada Loans Center, which faces a backlog of more than 30,000 requests for repayment assistance.
The telephone lines of the National Student Loans Service Center have been blocked since the lifting in late September of a moratorium on student loan collections triggered by a pandemic, the agency said, pointing to a post on its website stating on guard against long waiting times and dropped calls.
“We are currently experiencing unprecedented volumes of calls and are receiving a higher volume of requests (reimbursement assistance plan) than usual,” said spokesperson Isabelle Maheu.
The plan protects borrowers from having to repay their Canada student loan until they earn at least $ 25,000 a year, and caps payments for those who exceed the threshold.
But current and former students have said their issues with the service center extend beyond long wait times.
Jaylen Bastos, a master’s student at the University of British Columbia, tried unsuccessfully to reach someone at the center after receiving an email in mid-October regarding resuming payments.
Bastos, who uses neutral pronouns between them and them, said they call every week but never got through.
And throughout November, they said, calls resulted in a message saying the phones were overloaded.
But even so, on December 1, the service automatically withdrew $ 400 from its account.
“They just took money out of my account the same day I was due to pay the rent, and I didn’t expect that to happen. So I was like, ‘Oh, okay, now I just need to find another $ 400 during this pandemic, which is questionable for everyone’s income, ”they said.
Bastos tried calling their bank to see if there was anything they could do, but was unsuccessful, they said.
“It’s super frustrating because there are no options, right? There is only one number to call, they don’t accept emails, they don’t There is no other way to access this service or get in touch with anyone, ”they said.
For the foreseeable future, Bastos said, they will continue to call the center in an attempt to pass – and take screenshots after each failed attempt to show they have done their due diligence.
The service center said it is still experiencing high call volume, but the capacity of the call center has increased so that students can pass again – although it was not. Bastos experience.
The agency spokeswoman also said appeals are higher in part because fall is when new graduates are expected to start repaying their loans.
There are also more appeals due to improved security protocols introduced after a “cyber incident” that affected a number of government departments, Maheu said.
“Customers who need help accessing their accounts online due to increased security measures are a significant portion of borrowers who call the NSLSC,” she said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on December 6, 2020.