Federal student loan repayments have remained paused for nearly two years, since the start of the pandemic. During this time, Navient, formerly one of the largest student loan servicing companies in the US, transferred its caseload of 5.6 million student loans to Maximus, a global administrator of government programs. Maximus is a federal student loan servicer and manages Navient’s former student loans under the name Aidvantage.
If you have federal student loans, they remain paused through May 1, 2022 — which means there are no mandatory payments, interest accrual or collection of loans until then. The Biden administration is also considering another extension to the.
That said, if you haven’t logged in to your federal student loan account lately, you might have some questions, especially if your loan servicer has changed. Here’s everything you need to know about Navient’s withdrawal and how to log in to your Aidvantage account.
Why did Navient withdraw from the student loan business?
Navient was long under fire from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which sued the loan servicer in 2017 claiming 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 pay back loans.
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, and 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 loans were serviced by Navient, here’s what you need to know:
1. Aidvantage is your new 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 log in to 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 www.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 repayment preferences should be the same
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 May 2022.
So after logging in to Aidvantage, you should find that your preferred payment method and autopay selection transferred over, along with payment history and record of loans paid in full.
4. Prepare for repayment in 2022
Currently, repayment for federal student loans is on pause until May 2022. However, this.
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 in May. 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. This week, 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 debt 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.