In the next few months, as many as 50 million Americans will be eligible for either $10,000 or $20,000 in federal student loan forgiveness under the Biden administration’s new plan.
That’s great news for those that qualify! It’s still a long way from a full student loan cancellation, though. The vast majority of Americans with student loan debt will still be stuck making payments and dealing with servicers—often for years to come.
And that’s where Aidvantage comes in. Aidvantage is a student loan servicing company that is currently in the process of taking over all student loan accounts managed by Navient.
Who, when, why? We’ll get to all that. Here’s everything you need to know about the company!
What is Aidvantage?
Aidvantage is a student loan servicing subsidiary of Maximus Education. And what exactly is a student loan servicer? Good question.
Student loan servicers are companies that partner with the Federal Student Aid to manage student loan accounts. They are responsible for everything from processing payments to helping borrowers in default make repayment plans.
In simple terms, your student loan servicer is the company you interact with when it comes to your student loans—you make your payments to them, and they help you stay on track with your repayment plan.
The Department of Education is currently partnered with nine student loan servicers, including:
- FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA)
- Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc.
- OSLA Servicing
- Default Resolution Group
Is Aidvantage taking over for Navient?
Earlier I mentioned that Aidvantage is currently in the process of taking over all the student loan accounts managed by Navient. This story is pretty complicated, but here’s a quick summary.
In 2017, Navient was sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for “failing borrowers at every stage of repayment”. The CFPB lawsuit was chock-full of serious charges, including:
- failing to accurately apply or allocate borrower payments to their accounts
- steering struggling borrowers to paying more than they had to on loans
- obscuring information borrowers needed to maintain their lower payments
- being deceitful to loan borrowers about requirements to release co-signers
- harming the credit of disabled borrowers (including veterans)
Long story short, 39 state attorneys general joined the suit and Navient eventually lost. The company was ordered to pay out roughly $1.85 billion in damages and restitution to borrowers they had harmed. As you might imagine, Navient was pretty unhappy with this outcome.
So what did Navient do? In 2021, the company made the announcement that they were leaving the student loan servicing business and handing over all their student loan accounts to Aidvantage.
What repayment options does Aidvantage offer?
Federal student loan servicers (including Aidvantage) are required to offer certain repayment plans to borrowers, including:
- Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYE)
- Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE)
- Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR)
- Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR)
- Standard Repayment Plan
- Graduated Repayment Plan
- Extended Repayment Plan
- Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan
Every option has pros and cons, so make sure to do your research before you decide on one plan over the others. You can learn more about these repayment options here.
How do I know if Aidvantage is my student loan servicer?
Your federal student loan was assigned to a servicer when it was first disbursed.
If your loan was assigned to Navient, Aidvantage will now be your student loan servicer. If you’re not sure who your servicer is, you can either:
- log into your Federal Student Aid account
- call FSAIC (Federal Student Aid Information Center) via 1-800-433-3243
What should I do if Aidvantage is my student loan servicer?
If Aidvantage is the servicer for your student loans, you should start by taking a moment to be thankful that you aren’t stuck with Navient. Kidding—sort of.
In all seriousness, though, there isn’t a lot you need to do if Aidvantage is your servicer.
If you’ve already set up an account with Navient, you’ll automatically be transferred over to Aidvantage. You can log in with the same credentials to view your outstanding balance and make payments.
If you haven’t set up an account with either servicer, you’ll need to register for an Aidvantage account. It’s a straightforward process that should only take you around 15 minutes, but you’ll need the following information:
- SSN or Federal Student Aid Account Number
- Email Address
- Phone Number
- Zip Code
Tip: You should log into your Aidvantage account at least a month before student loan repayments resume on January 1st, 2023 to make sure that all your information is correct. Resolving issues any could take a while!
How can I make payments to Aidvantage?
Aidvantage offers two different ways to make your student loan payments, including:
Aidvantage offers borrowers the ability to make one-time or recurring payments online. All you need is an Aidvantage login and some form of payment (debit card, credit card, or bank account).
There is no fee for this service.
To make a payment, log into your Aidvantage account and click on the “Make a Payment” button. From there, you’ll be able to choose how much you want to pay and when you want the payment to be processed.
You can also use your online account to opt in for “Autopay”. This feature automatically deducts your monthly student loan payment from your chosen bank account. Autopay comes with a 0.25% interest rate reduction, so it’s definitely worth considering!
Pay By Mail
You can also mail Aidvantage a check or money order for your monthly student loan payment. Just be sure to include your Aidvantage account number on the check or money order.
To ensure that your payment is processed in a timely manner, you should mail it at least 5-7 days before the due date.
The address for mail-in payments to Aidvantage is:
Aidvantage — U.S. Department of Education Loan Servicing
PO Box 4450
Portland, OR 97208-4450
How can I contact Aidvantage?
If you need to get in touch with Aidvantage, you can contact them in a number of ways:
- Domestic: 1-800-722-1300
- International: 001-317-806-0580
- Available Monday to Friday 8 AM – 11 PM and Saturday 10 AM – 2 PM
- Log into your Aidvantage account and click “Email Us”
- Domestic: 866-266-0178
- International: 001-570-706-8563
Mail (General Correspondence—NOT payments)
Aidvantage –- Department of Education Loan Servicing
PO Box 9635
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773-9635
How can I lodge a complaint against Aidvantage?
Navient had a long history of complaints from borrowers before they were sued by the CFPB. But don’t confuse the absence of an Aidvantage lawsuit with a perfect record.
There are already a few reports of Aidvantage mistreating borrowers—albeit to a lesser extent than Navient. So, if you feel like you’ve been wronged by Aidvantage, don’t hesitate to lodge a complaint with the CFPB, Department of Education, or both.
They may be able tohelp you resolve the issue, but at the very least you’ll be helping hold the company accountable.