What Is Navient?

Definition & Examples of Navient

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

Learn the roots and core business of Navient along with the different types of loans it services and how to manage them.

What Is 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. But it is perhaps best known as one of 11 student loan servicers that the U.S. Department of Education works with to manage federal student loans.

How Navient Works

In order 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 SLMA into Sallie Mae, offering private student loans and consumer banking products, and Navient, which manages federal and private student loans. 

If Navient is 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 may also be able to switch your repayment plan, consolidate your loans, or help you understand your options for loan forbearance or forgiveness.

For example, let's say that you have a Direct Loan owned by the Department of Education but serviced by Navient. You should 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, as well as your account number on the check.

Notify Navient if you’re having trouble keeping up with payments. To contact Navient by phone, call 800-722-1300. Or, log in to your online Navient account and use the “Email Us” tool.

Types of Navient Loans

Student loans serviced by Navient fall into three categories:

  • Department of Education loans: These include loans originated by the U.S. Department through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, including Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, and Direct Consolidation Loans.
  • Loans not owned by the Education Department: These are federal loans that aren't owned by the Department of Education, such as FFELs issued through the defunct Federal Family Education Loan 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 Department of Education then allocates funds for tuition, fees, and room and board and disburses them to your student account, and then pays out the remaining funds (known as the "credit balance") directly to you so that you can cover other educational expenses.

When the student loan is first disbursed, the Department of Education hands the 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 August 18, 2019 and the same date in 2020, consumers filed 5,259 formal complaints about student loans with the CFPB. Over one-third of them—1,825—were related to 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.”

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.

Key Takeaways

  • Navient is a Delaware-based corporation that is best known for servicing federal and private student loans.
  • If Navient is your student loan servicer, it handles the billing for your loan. You can make payments to Navient by phone or via mail.
  • As 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 ranging from Direct Loans to FFELs, borrowers should know that the company has also received a number of complaints from consumers.

Article Sources

  1. U.S. Department of the Treasury. "Lessons Learned From The Privatization of Sallie Mae," Page 2. Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.

  2. Navient. "Sallie Mae Board Approves Strategic Separation of Navient Corporation, Sets Record Date and Distribution Date," Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.

  3. Navient. "Managing Your Account." Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.

  4. Navient. "Contact Us." Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.

  5. Federal Student Aid. "Who’s My Student Loan Servicer?" Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.

  6. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Consumer Complaint Database." Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.