The National Student Loan Service Center lagged behind as requests for help rose

Lots of former students have been unable to reach Canada’s loan center, which is working on a backlog of more than 30,000 repayment aid applications.

The National Student Loans Service Center’s telephone lines have been blocked since a pandemic-induced moratorium on student loans was collected in late September, the agency said, pointing to a message on its website warning of long wait times and missed calls.

“We are currently experiencing unsurpassed call volumes and receiving a higher (regular) applications (refund support plan),” said spokeswoman Isabelle Maheu.

The agency said it saw 169,000 RAP applications between October 1 – when loan repayments resumed – and the end of November. Of these, 30,600 had not yet been treated.

The plan protects borrowers from having to repay their student loan from Canada until they earn at least $ 25,000 a year and receive payments for them over the threshold.

But current and former students said their problems with the service center go beyond long waiting times.

Jaylen Bastos, a master’s student at the University of British Columbia, has tried in vain to reach someone in the center after receiving an email in mid-October that payments would resume.

Bastos, who uses the gender-neutral pronouns de and dem, said they called every week, but could never get through.

And throughout November, they said calls resulted in a message that the phones were congested.

However, on December 1, the service automatically withdrew $ 400 from its account.

“They just withdrew money from my account the same day I had to pay rent, and I did not expect that to happen. So I was like, ‘Oh, okay, now I just have to bring $ 400 extra under this pandemic, which can be questioned for income for all, they said.

The National Student Loan Service Center lagged behind as requests for help rose. #NSLSC # COVID19 #StudentLoan

Bastos tried to call his bank to see if it could do something about it, but no luck, they said.

“It’s super frustrating, because there are no options, right? There’s just a number to call, they do not accept email, there is no other way to access this service or get in touch with anyone,” he said. the.

In the foreseeable future, Bastos said, they will continue to call the center in an attempt to get through – and take screenshots after each failed attempt to show that they did their due diligence.

The service center said that it is still experiencing a high volume of calls, but that the call center capacity has increased, so students can get through – but that has not been Basto’s experience.

The agency’s spokeswoman also said that the talks are higher in part because the autumn is when new graduates are expected to start repaying their loans.

There are also more talks due to improved security protocols introduced after a “cyber incident” that affected a number of government ministries, Maheu said.

“Customers who need help accessing their online account due to increased security measures are a significant portion of the borrowers who call NSLSC,” she said.

This report from The Canadian Press was not published until December 6, 2020.

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