American Education Services, or AES, is headquartered in Harrisburg, PA. AES was established in 1963 by the Pennsylvania General Assembly to service loans that were granted through the Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) program, as well as private loans for college students. Thus, AES services the loans of millions of borrowers who took loans out through the federal government in order to attend college. In addition to loan servicing, the company also provides financial aid processing and community outreach. AES is one of the most well known loan servicers and it has grown quickly over the years. Currently, over four million students have their loans serviced through AES.
AES services loans from both PHEAA as well as the U.S. Department of Education. After AES acquires loans, customers are provided with a number of AES services. From that point on, AES manages all aspects of bill collection, payment plans, and customer service for students who have loans in repayment. AES offers a number of repayment programs, including a standard plan, an income-based plan, an income-sensitive plan, a graduated plan, and a 25-year extended plan. The income-based plans as well as the 25-year extended plan are especially attractive to customers who are experiencing financial difficulties.
How Does AES Help Customers Who are Experiencing Financial Hardships?
AES, like many other large lenders, know that sometimes circumstances arise that make it challenging or impossible for borrowers to make their scheduled monthly payments. When such circumstances arise, it is best to contact AES as soon as possible to determine whether you are eligible for a reduction in loan payments or forgiveness of your loan. AES offers loan forgiveness in some circumstances, including: teachers who have worked for five years in a row, if the university you attended closed prior to your graduation date, if someone fraudulently took the loan out in your name, if you work in certain public service positions, or in the case of permanent disability.
Other options are available, but students must contact the customer service department in order to obtain additional information. One option permits students to change the due date of their loans. Additional options permit borrowers to reduce or consolidate their payments.
Benefits Provided to AES Customers
- The ability to change the loan due date, if desired, to customize the repayment process
- Various types of repayment programs, including income-driven repayment program
- Direct Debit option that allows borrowers to make automatic payments each month from a checking or savings account
- Loan forgiveness to eligible customers (i.e., forgiveness to teachers who work full-time for at least five years in a row, when a loan was disbursed without the student’s consent, in cases were the borrower is deceased or becomes permanently disabled)
- An online website that helps borrowers understand more about repaying loans, including topics such as deferments, loan forgiveness, various payment options, and financial planning
- Special benefits for members of the armed forces
- Option to reduce or postpone payments
- A website (EducationPlanner.org) which provides resources to students about how to prepare academically and financially for higher education
- You Can Deal With It website which assists borrowers create a budget, manage credit card debt, and provides other financial resources
AES Student Loans FAQ
How do I make payments towards my AES student loans?
Borrowers can make payments using the Direct Debit portal online. This allows borrowers to set up automatic payments so that they do not need to remember to pay each month. Students who choose this option can opt to have funds removed from a savings or checking account. For students who do not have access to a computer or for those who prefer not to use a computer, payments can also be made via telephone or through sending in a check through the mail.
When can cosigners be released from their obligation?
Cosigner releases vary by the type of loan that the borrower holds. However, cosigner releases typically occur after somewhere between 24-48 payments have been made on-time.
Who is eligible for loan forgiveness?
Loan forgiveness occurs in special circumstances. Teachers are eligible for loan forgiveness if they have taught full-time for at least five consecutive years at a low-income school. Borrowers who become disabled or who die and have remaining loans to pay are also eligible for loan forgiveness. Furthermore, loan discharges can occur if your school closed, incorrectly identified you as being able to benefit from an education, falsely signed your name, or failed to provide you with a tuition refund. Borrowers who work in a public-service career may be eligible for loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness plan if they have made 120 payments on their loans and have remaining federal loans left to pay.
Criticisms of AES Loan Servicing
AES has been criticized for a number of reasons. One of the most common complaints is from customers who are not happy with the billing process. Some consumers report inaccurate payments or payments not being posted to their accounts. Other customers report inaccurate reporting of their loan payment status to credit reporting companies. Furthermore, many complaints revolve around poor communication from the company when customers have questions. Consumers who have trouble with their AES loan should contact the customer service department. If their problem remains unsolved, they may want to consider refinancing or consolidating their loans through another lender to get a new servicer.