Who is Navient Student Loans?
Navient is a U.S. based company that is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware. The company primary handles servicing and collection of student loans. The company currently boasts over 12 million customers and handles billions of dollars in loan repayments. Navient is a relatively new company, which was created when loan giant Sallie Mae split their company in two smaller companies (Navient and Sallie Mae Bank) a couple of years ago.
Navient is one of the largest student loan servicers within the United States. In fact, one of the companies main customers is the federal government. Navient was contracted to collect loans that go into repayment for federally owned loans through the Department of Education. Navient has over 6,000 employees who can provide support to borrowers seeking to repay their student loans. Currently, Navient is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
What Services Do Navient Provide?
Navient handles the day-to-day management of federal and private student loans, once the repayment process begins. This means that they will send customers payment coupons or payment slips with the amount of the loan as well as the monthly amount that is due. This will also include a payment remittance address where customers must send their payment. In addition to collections, Navient provides customers with the following services:
- Online tax statements to borrowers who have paid student loan interest
- Servicemembers Civil Relief Act - an initiative which provides a reduced interest rate and reduced loan fees to students who are members of the military
- The Navient Path to Success! - a program that helps borrowers understand various financial concepts, including loan repayment options, credit scores, saving and investing money, military loans benefits, creating and maintaining a feasible budget, credit cards, and more
- An online description of how payments are allocated (generally to fees and interest before being applied to the outstanding principal)
If the borrower is unable to make their monthly payment for any reason, customer service agents are standing by to develop a solution. However, borrowers must take the initiative to call!
What Does Navient do to Help Customers Who Struggle to Repay Their Loans?
For most students who take out loans to fund their college education, the goal is to get a better job or start a new career that will enable them to earn a good salary and repay their student loans. Unfortunately, for some students this does not occur. There are many unanticipated events that may impact a borrower’s ability to repay their loan. For example, some students run into unexpected health problems, become disabled, experience a natural disaster, or have higher expenses due to starting a family. Most lenders know that life happens and have plans in place to help borrowers reach their financial goals. Navient has the following programs to help borrowers who run into problems repaying their student loans:
Disaster Relief support is provided to students who have been impacted by any type of recent natural disaster. In order to find out whether a borrower will qualify for special services under this program, which may include administrative forbearance, the borrower may call the customer service number during regular business hours.
Income-Driven Repayment Plans are provided to borrowers who want to continue to pay some money towards their student loans, but who may not earn enough to pay the full monthly amount. By paying something towards the loans instead of requesting a deferment, students may be able to reduce the total lifetime amount of the loan.
Deferment is an option for borrowers who are returning to school or for those who are not currently earning enough to pay their loan. When a loan is granted a deferment if basically provides a reprieve on paying the student loan for a limited number of months. However, interest will continue to accrue on the loans during this time.
Forbearance of student loans is rarely offered, such as when a borrower dies or becomes permanently disabled.
Navient recommends that borrowers who are struggling to pay their loans contact them as early as possible to work out a repayment program. Taking early action will help reduce late fees and unnecessary hassles. The company also suggests that students track how they spend their money by tracking all expenses for a week and then cut back on unnecessary items. For example, borrowers who have a habit of grabbing morning coffee at Starbucks might be able to save $80 a month if they make their own coffee at home. Other cost cutting sources, such as packing a lunch instead of paying to eat out, are also available online.
Navient also suggests asking for financial help from family or friends if there are issues repaying loans. Lastly, the company suggests considering alternative repayment options by contacting their customer service number. A new payment schedule or a temporarily lowered monthly payment may be available to borrowers in need.
What Complaints are Frequently Mentioned About Navient?
Navient has been under investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for almost as long as it has existed. Federal regulators sent Navient an official letter in August 2015 indicating that an amalgamation of investigative evidence suggests that the company has engaged in violations of laws that were developed to protect student loan consumers. The company has been accused of engaging in shady student loan repayment practices, such as forcing consumers to pay a higher monthly rate than is actually required, which leaves borrowers with less disposable income. This trend is not limited to Navient and therefore, experts have suggested that such underhanded practices may threaten the growth of the U.S. economy.
Furthermore, additional complaints were lodged against Navient that should cause borrowers to closely inspect their loan terms and repayment amounts. The complaints include a 2014 allegation by the Department of Justice that Navient has been overcharging active-duty troops for the student loans. Another complains is for the maltreatment of students who run into financial problems when repaying their loans, such as shady debt-collection practices.
Like many other servicers, many borrowers have problem with Navient. Whether these issues are simply because many people automatically have negative thoughts about those who collect their student loan payments or because Navient is actually incompetent, there is a long history of problems. If Navient is your servicer at any point in time, be sure to report any issues to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.