Federal student loan repayments have been paused for over two years, since the start of the pandemic — and last week President Joe Biden, this time through Aug. 31.
Since payments for federal student loans have been on pause for so long, you may not even be aware that you have a new loan servicer. Maximus, a loan servicer that manages federal student loans under the name Aidvantage, took over Navient’s caseload of 5.6 million student loans at the end of 2021.
Although payments are on pause until September, if your account transitioned from Navient to Aidvantage, it’s worth logging into your account, so you’re ready to go when payments resume. Here’s everything you need to know about why Navient no longer services yourand how to log in to your new Aidvantage account.
Why Navient withdrew from 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 services, 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.”
Here’s what Navient’s departure means for borrowers
If your federal student loans were previously serviced by Navient, here’s what you need to know:
1. Aidvantage is your new federal student loan service
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 should be able to 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 double check
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. Prepare for repayment in 2022
Currently, repayment for federal student loans is on pause through Aug. 31. If you haven’t been paying your loans during the forbearance period, be sure to review your payment options now so you’re ready to go by then. Double-check your payment method, make sure you know your minimum monthly payment and explore 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.
Is Navient becoming 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.
Will I receive tax documents from Navient or Aidvantage?
If Aidvantage is your new student loan provider, you’ll be able to download tax form 1098-E, which reports the amount of interest you paid on your student loan, by navigating to the left side panel and selecting “Tax statements.”
Your old tax statements should have been imported from Navient to Aidvantage. For instance, I was able to view my 2020 and 2021 tax documents through Aidvantage. Logging in to Navient only allowed me to access my 2020 tax documents.
Should I prepare for repayment now or wait to see if loan forgiveness gets passed?
If you’re trying to keep track of student loan forgiveness policies, here’s a brief summary. In March, the Department of Education identified 100,000 borrowers with a combined total of $6.2 billion in student loan debt who are eligible to have their forgiven, due to changes made to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program last October.
That said, only a small number of student loan holders are currently eligible for loan forgiveness right now. While the repayment pause may be extended, it’s smart to make a plan to prepare for repayment now, just in case. You can explore income-driven repayment plans and other repayment options through your Aidvantage account.