What Is Navient?

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

SDI Productions / Getty Images 

DEFINITION
Navient is a U.S.-based corporation that acts as a leading servicer for federal and private student loans.

Navient is a U.S.-based corporation that acts as a leading servicer for federal and private student loans. Navient has requested an exit from the federal loan servicing business, however.

Learn more about Navient, how it got its start, and how to work with this company if it is or was your loan servicer.

Key Takeaways

  • Navient is a Delaware-based corporation that is best known for servicing federal and private student loans.
  • If Navient is your loan servicer, it handles the billing for your loan. You can make payments to Navient by phone or via mail.
  • Because your loan servicer is automatically assigned to you after your loan is disbursed, you can’t specifically request that Navient be your servicer.
  • Although Navient services a variety of loan types, borrowers should know that the company has also received a number of complaints from consumers and reached a settlement regarding claims of abusive student loan servicing practices.

Definition and Example of Navient

Navient is a corporation based in Delaware that provides educational loan management and business processing services at the federal, state, and local levels for clients in the education, health care, and government sectors.

For example, Navient is perhaps best known for being one of the student loan servicers contracted by the U.S. Department of Education for federal student loan servicing. However, Navient announced in 2021 that it would end its contract with the Department of Education and stop servicing federal student loans.

Any loans that were with Navient will now be serviced by Aidvantage, the federal loan servicing unit of Maximus Education. If your loans were affected, you should receive a welcome letter with the details for your new account.

How Navient Works

To improve educational access, Congress created the Student Loan Marketing Association (SLMA) in 1972 as a private, for-profit corporation classified as a government-sponsored enterprise. A corporate spin-off in 2014 divided the SLMA into Sallie Mae, offering private student loans and consumer banking products, and Navient, which managed both federal and private student loans. 

If Navient was your student loan servicer, this means that your loan owner assigned Navient to handle billing and other tasks related to your loan at no cost to you. Navient also would have been able to switch your repayment plan, consolidate your loans, or help you understand your options for loan forbearance or forgiveness. (Those tasks would now be handled by Aidvantage.)

For example, let’s say you have a private student loan serviced by Navient. You would register for an online account with Navient to stay informed about account balances, interest charges, and repayment details. When it’s time to make a payment toward your student loan, visit Navient.com, click “Contact Us,” and then click the type of loan you took out. Call the toll-free number to make a payment via the automated system, or make a payment by mail. If paying by mail, include your remittance slip with your payment, and write your account number on the check.

Notify Navient if you’re having trouble keeping up with payments. To contact Navient by phone, call 888-272-5543. Or log into your online Navient account and use the “Email Us” tool.

Types of Navient Loans

The student loans serviced by Navient fall into two categories:

  • Loans not owned by the Education Department: These are federal loans that aren’t owned by the Department of Education, such as loans issued through the defunct Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program.
  • Private student loans: Navient also services private student loans issued by private lenders through various loan programs.

How to Get Navient Loans

If you’re wondering how you wound up with Navient as your loan servicer or how to secure it as your servicer on a new loan, here’s how the process works. First, would-be borrowers must request, get approved for, and then accept a student loan.

The lender then allocates funds for tuition, fees, and room and board and disburses them to your student account. Then it pays out the remaining funds (known as the “credit balance”) directly to you so you can cover other educational expenses.

When the student loan is first disbursed, the lender hands management of the loan over to a loan servicer. Your servicer then notifies you. In some cases, your loan may be transferred from one loan servicer to another, but the newly assigned servicer will contact you, and your loan owner won’t change.

You don’t get to choose your loan servicer, because it is automatically assigned to you.

Criticism of Navient

Navient has an outsized number of customer complaints logged in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) online database. Between April 22, 2020, and the same date in 2021, consumers filed 3,878 complaints about student loans with the CFPB. Slightly over 33% of them—1,285—were against Navient.

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.” Navient has a B- rating, but no accreditation with the Better Business Bureau. 89 reviews awarded the company with just one star, with 828 complaints.

Navient has agreed to a $1.85 billion settlement deal that resolves some claims of abusive loan servicing practices. As many as 66,000 borrowers will see their student loan debt canceled, and 350,000 more will receive about $260 in restitution payments.

Should you have issues with your loan or Navient, stay persistent and proactive. Keep 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, file a complaint with the CFPB or, as a last resort, the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group.

Article Sources

  1. Navient. "Navient, Maximus Announce Proposal to Transfer Federal Student Loan Servicing Contract, Pending Government Approval." Accessed Jan. 27, 2022.

  2. Federal Student Aid. "Navient to Transfer Federal Student Loans to Aidvantage." Accessed Jan. 27, 2022.

  3. U.S. Department of the Treasury. "Lessons Learned From The Privatization of Sallie Mae," Page 2. Accessed Jan. 27, 2022.

  4. Navient. "Sallie Mae Board Approves Strategic Separation of Navient Corporation, Sets Record Date and Distribution Date." Accessed Jan. 27, 2022.

  5. Federal Student Aid. “Who’s My Student Loan Servicer?” Accessed Jan. 27, 2022.

  6. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Consumer Complaint Database." Accessed Jan. 27, 2022.

  7. Better Business Bureau. “Navient.” Accessed Jan. 27, 2022.

  8. AttorneyGeneral.gov. "Attorney General Josh Shapiro Announces $1.85 Billion Landmark Settlement with Student Loan Servicer Navient." Accessed Jan. 27, 2022.