What Is Navient?

How This Company Becomes Your Student Loan Servicer

Tired college student worries over an assignment at a table with a cup of coffee and glasses nearby

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If you’re getting contacted by a company called Navient Solutions, you may be asking yourself: What is Navient, and why do they know about my student loans?

Probably because Navient is your student loan servicer. The U.S. Department of Education has assigned your account to the company to handle billing as you repay your student loans.

Of course, you might want to double-check that Navient is actually your servicer and learn more about the company before you get too far. Here’s a closer look at Navient and how it compares to other student loan servicers.

What Is Navient? 

Navient is a student loan servicer, one of nine the Education Department contracts with to manage student loans. Navient used to be part of Sallie Mae, but the companies formally split into two separate businesses in 2014. 

Navient serves almost 6.5 million borrowers and manages a portfolio of about $227 billion federal student loans, making it the third-largest of the federal loan servicers. Navient also provides loan servicing for a portfolio of private student loans

Navient Lawsuits and Complaints

Navient’s student loan servicing doesn’t have the best reputation, as shown by lawsuits and consumer complaints.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a government agency charged with oversight of the financial industry, filed a suit against Navient in January 2017. The CFPB claimed that Navient misallocated student loan payments and gave inappropriate advice and inaccurate information, “failing borrowers at every stage of repayment.”

The attorneys general in Illinois, Washington, Pennsylvania, and California have also filed legal claims.

Navient called the claims unfounded and said it would “vigorously defend” against them. In a June 2018 fact sheet posted on the company’s website, Navient said the suits targeted the company “based on unannounced servicing standards applied retroactively and only against one servicer.” Its borrowers are 37% less likely to default on student loans than those assigned to other loan servicers, the company said. 

The litigation still appears to be pending, though neither Navient nor the CFPB responded to requests for comment.

Navient has had an outsized number of customer complaints, according to the CFPB's online database. Between July 2018 and August 2019, consumers filed more than 53,700 formal complaints about student loans with the CFPB. Nearly 26,000—almost half of them—were related to Navient. That was by far the biggest percentage for any one student loan servicer. 

Some of the most common issues borrowers alleged in the complaints were categorized as “received bad information” about loans and “trouble with how payments are being handled.” 

Should you have issues with your loan or servicer, stay persistent and proactive. The Education Department’s Federal Student Aid office recommends keeping all receipts, account records, and written correspondence from your servicer. Make notes of any calls you have with a customer service representative, including when you spoke and what about.

If you need to escalate a problem with your loan servicer, you can file a complaint with the CFPB or, as a last resort, the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Office.

How Did I Get Navient?

If you’re wondering how you got Navient as your student loan servicer, here’s how the process works. First, you would have requested and gotten approved for a student loan. The Education Department then allocates funds for your loan and sends them to your college, which in turn disburses the money to you. 

Once you get the first portion of your student loan, the Education Department hands the management of the loan over to a loan servicer. You don’t get a choice because it automatically assigns the servicer. The servicer will then notify you.

Check the National Student Loan Data System, the database of all federal student aid information, to verify which student loan servicer(s) you have. This will list all student loans you take out while in school. To do this, visit NSLDS.ed.gov, click on “Financial Aid Review,” and then enter your Federal Student Aid ID.

Verifying your student loan servicer ensures you have correct, up-to-date info about your student debt. It could also protect you from potential account errors, servicing issues, or even student loan scams that can mess with your repayment. 

How to Contact Navient 

Creating an online account with Navient can keep you informed about account balances, interest charges, and repayment details. Once you’re out of school and repaying your loans, notify the company if you’re having trouble keeping up with payments. Navient can switch your repayment plan, consolidate your loans, or help you apply for deferment or forbearance.

Here’s how to contact Navient :

  • Call 800-722-1300 between 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern Time Friday
  • Log in to your online Navient account and use the “Email Us” tool
  • Mail payments to Navient – U.S. Department of Education Loan Servicing, P.O. Box 4450, Portland, OR 97208-4450
  • Mail general correspondence to Navient – U.S. Department of Education Loan Servicing, P.O. Box 9635, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773-9635

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