Last month President Joe Biden, this time through Aug. 31. Federal student loan repayments have been paused for over two years, since the start of the pandemic. During this time, a major student loan servicer, Navient, exited the scene, leaving millions wondering where their student loans now reside.
At the end of 2021, Maximus, a loan servicer that manages federal student loans under the name Aidvantage, took over Navient’s caseload of 5.6 million student loans. If you had a federal student loan through Navient, Aidvantage is your new loan servicer.
Here’s everything you need to know about why Navient no longer services your, and how to log in to your new Aidvantage account.
Why did Navient exit the student loan industry?
Navient was long under fire from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which sued the loan servicer in 2017: It claimed that the company had pushed borrowers into costly, subprime private loans they would be unable to repay. In January, Navient canceled $1.7 billion in private student loans for nearly 66,000 borrowers after coming under scrutiny for engaging in abusive and deceptive practices, including targeting students the company allegedly knew couldn’t .
In 2020, the US Department of Education announced changes to loan servicing in an effort to modernize the federal student loan system. As part of the Next Gen Initiative, the Department of Education extended its partnership with five of the 10 current loan servicers, which would continue servicing federal student loans, but under stricter government regulations. Navient, along with FedLoan and Granite State, opted to end their participation in federal student loan servicing at the end of 2021.
Michael Lux, a student loan expert, attorney and founder of the Student Loan Sherpa, said that the “increase in federal regulation and government scrutiny over federal loan servicing is almost certainly to blame for Navient’s departure.”
What does Navient’s departure mean for borrowers?
If your federal student loans were previously serviced by Navient, here’s what you need to know:
1. Aidvantage is your new student loan servicer
By now, you should have been notified of this change by mail or email from Navient, Aidvantage and the Department of Education. If you have not received a notification, you should log in to your existing Navient account and double-check your contact information to make sure it’s correct. Even if your address was outdated, you should be able to log in to your new account.
2. You can access your Aidvantage account with your Navient credentials
If you try to log in to Navient, you’ll find a $0 balance — this balance is simply showing that your loans have been purchased by Aidvantage. To log in to your new account, visit aidvantage.com and enter your Navient login information.
The process is nearly identical to Navient’s. Once you enter your login and password, you’ll be prompted to enter your Social Security number or account number and date of birth to confirm your identity. From there, you’ll be taken to the Aidvantage account home page, which looks just like the Navient landing page, right down to the left-hand navigation options.
If you can’t remember your login information, select “Forgot user ID” or “Forgot password” and confirm a personal identification question to have a new one emailed to you. If you still can’t get in or no longer have access to the email on file, reach out to Aidvantage for assistance at 800-722-1300.
3. Your payment preferences should be the same, but it’s worth checking
Any payment terms you set up with Navient — autopay, deferment, income-driven repayment plans — should have transferred seamlessly to Aidvantage. Of course, since federal student loan payments have been paused for over 20 months, you may need to review the payment details, particularly with the end of forbearance approaching. And, if your job situation has changed since you last reviewed your loan repayment options, you may want to apply for income-driven repayment or other repayment options through Aidvantage now, so you’re ready to go when repayment begins in September.
So after logging in to Aidvantage, you should find that your preferred payment method and autopay selection have transferred over, along with your payment history and record of loans paid in full.
4. Repayment is currently scheduled for September 2022
Federal student loan payments remain on pause through Aug. 31. If you haven’t already been paying your loans during the forbearance period, be sure you know how what your monthly payment will be now, so you can factor this into your budget. You can also explore the repayment options if you need additional assistance.
If you want to explore further deferment or forbearance options, you can do this through your account online under “Repayment options.” You can also speak to Aidvantage directly at 800-722-1300.
Did Navient become Aidvantage?
No. At the end of 2021, Navient transferred its caseload of 5.6 billion in student loans to Maximus, another federal student loan contractor. Maximus is operating its student loan servicing under the name Aidvantage.
Should I pay my student loans now or wait for loan forgiveness?
There’s no guarantee of widespread student loan forgiveness, but the latest news indicates that the Biden administration may be considering $10,000 in federal student loan relief, with some income limitations. No official announcements have been made yet. Unless you have only this amount in federal student loans or less, it’s smart to plan for repayment now. And, if you’re able to, paying during the pause can lower your principal loan amount, helping you save money on interest when payments resume.
If you’re a teacher, healthcare worker, firefighter or other public servant, you may be eligible for forgiveness through the expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Since changes were made last October, the PSLF has identified more than 113,000 borrowers eligible for loan cancelation. If you’re eligible for the PSLF or were on an income-driven repayment plan, which offers you forgiveness after 20 – 25 years of payments, each month of paused payments counts towards your loan forgiveness goal. So, you should plan for repayment, but there is little benefit in making payments during the freeze.