Navient is one of the oldest and most recognized student loan servicers in the United States. Yet, while Navient has helped millions of borrowers get the money they need to attend college, the company has been surrounded by years of controversy.
Here you’ll find more details about Navient’s history and services, plus information on how you can potentially have your Navient student loans forgiven.
Who is Navient?
Navient’s history starts in 1973, when it was originally established as a Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) known as the Student Loan Marketing Association. Congress created the Student Loan Marketing Association, which became known as Sallie Mae, to help support student loan programs coming from the Higher Education Act of 1965.
In 2004, Sallie Mae split from the GSE charter to become a private company. This meant it could offer private loans to individuals for a variety of reasons, including student loans. In 2009, the Department of Education chose Sallie Mae as its primary servicer on federal student loans.
Navient Launches & Grows
Sallie Mae separated into two publicly traded companies in 2014, Sallie Mae and Navient. While Sallie Mae kept consumer banking and private lending services, Navient was created to handle education loans coming from the DOE.
Today, Navient manages roughly $300 billion in student loans and is one of the leading student loan servicers in the United States. Headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, Navient currently employs more than 6,000 people across the U.S.
What Does Navient Do?
Navient is a student loan servicer that offers its services to more than 12 million student loan borrowers. As a loan servicer, Navient handles a variety of services for nearly a dozen student loan repayment plans, consolidation options, and student loan forgiveness programs.
Navient and Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
Due to Navient’s partnership with the Department of Education, there are several Navient student loan forgiveness programs available to eligible borrowers.
Navient and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
If you have qualifying student loans and you work in the public sector, you could be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). This includes anyone working full-time in AmeriCorps or as a Peace Corps volunteer.
In addition to working in the public sector, you’ll also need to make 120 on-time payments on your eligible loans to qualify for the PSLF program. But once you’ve met all the requirements, you may be eligible to have your student loans forgiven.
Even if you’ve been denied for PSLF before, the new Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) might be able to help you get your student loan balance wiped away for good.
Because most PSLF applications are handled by FedLoan Servicing, any Navient will be moved to FedLoan once you’ve met the program’s requirements.
Navient and Teacher Loan Forgiveness
Qualifying for Teacher Loan Forgiveness requires having certain loans and meeting specific job-related requirements. However, if you meet these requirements, you could earn up to $17,500 towards the balance of your Direct Loan or FFEL program loans.
Requirements for Navient Teacher Loan Forgiveness include teaching full-time at a low-income school or educational service agency.
Upon meeting the qualifications for Teacher Loan Forgiveness, your loans will be moved to FedLoan Servicing, who largely manages the program for the DOE.
Are you a teacher with a Perkins Loan? You might also qualify for a Perkins Loan Cancellation if other requirements are met. You can learn more about a Perkins Loan Cancellation for teachers and other student loan forgiveness programs for teachers here.
Navient and Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge
To qualify for the TPD Discharge through Navient, you’ll need to prove your disabled status through Veterans Affairs, your doctor, or the Social Security Administration. Then once your paperwork is approved, your loans will be moved to Nelnet, who serves as the DOE’s exclusive TPD Discharge servicer.
Navient and Other Student Loan Discharges
Depending on your circumstances, you might be eligible for other student loan discharge programs. Available Navient student loan discharge programs include:
- School closure discharge
- False certification discharge
- Unpaid refund discharge
A student loan discharge could release you from your obligation to pay back your student loans.
Navient and Income-Driven Repayment Plans
Many of Navient’s student loan forgiveness programs require certain loan types to ensure borrowers are eligible. If your loans don’t qualify for loan forgiveness, you might consider switching your loans to a more favorable income-driven repayment plan. These include:
- Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan
- Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Repayment Plan
- Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Repayment Plan
- Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan
- Income-Sensitive Repayment (ISR) Plan
Income-driven repayment plans typically offer lower monthly payments, longer repayment periods, and may qualify you for one or more student loan forgiveness programs that can help you become debt-free.
Recent Navient Loan Forgiveness & Repayment News
Here are some recent news stories about Navient that will interest you as a borrower.
April 2015: President Obama releases the Student Aid Bill of Rights to help protect borrowers and address problems with servicers. As part of Obama’s efforts on behalf of borrowers, the Student Aid Bill of Rights plans to end customer complaints against servicers like Navient.
January 2017: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) files a lawsuit against Navient, along with the Attorneys General of Illinois and Washington. The CFPB alleges that Navient is knowingly misallocating payments, steering borrowers toward unnecessary forbearances, and not giving borrowers enough information about income-driven repayment plans.
October 2017: Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, sues Navient. In the lawsuit, the Pennsylvania AG claims Navient offered expensive, high-risk loans to borrowers despite knowing these loans would likely go into default.
February 2018: NPR obtains an internal memo from U.S. Education Secretary Betsy Devos, where she argues to protect federal student loan servicers like Navient from state lawsuits.
July 2018: The Attorney General of California, Xavier Becerra, sues Navient. Speaking about the lawsuit, Mr. Becerra said, “Navient’s loan servicing abuses have compounded the misery of parents and students who sacrificed to pay for college…We are ready to hold Navient accountable.”
December 2018: Navient’s argument to dismiss a class-action lawsuit filed by the Pennsylvania Attorney General is denied by U.S. district court judge Robert Mariani, enabling it to move forward.
February 2019: The Department of Education’s inspector general releases a report after performing an audit on federal student loan contractors that include Navient. The report claims contractors aren’t being monitored closely enough and may be costing taxpayers millions by not preventing delinquencies and defaults.
April 2019: A Florida federal judge rejects the class-action lawsuit against Navient, saying the lawsuit doesn’t fit the requirements for group treatment and should be resolved on a case-by-case basis.
As a loan servicer to millions of borrowers, Navient has amassed hundreds of online reviews. Currently, Navient has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau, despite a large number of negative reviews. On the Consumer Affairs website, Navient has a 3-star rating.
Is Navient Your Loan Servicer?
Is Navient your student loan servicer and you’d like to switch to another lender? You do have options. As a Navient borrower, one of these options includes a Federal Direct Loan Consolidation. By consolidating your federal loans into a single loan, you get access to a few key benefits. These include:
- Making your loans eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) if you already qualify for the program
- Simplifying multiple payments into one loan and one monthly payment
- Getting a single interest rate that is a weighted average of all your consolidated loans
During the Direct Loan Consolidation process, you can choose which servicer you want to have your loans handled by. Other than Navient, student loan servicers include Nelnet, FedLoan, and Great Lakes.
If you’re not concerned about losing the benefits that come with federal student loan programs, you can also apply for a private student loan consolidation. In some cases, a private consolidation loan could offer a lower interest rate, better repayment terms, and superior customer service.
Interested in moving your loans away from Navient? Want to learn more about your student loan options? Simply fill out our free online form or call a student loan specialist by phone at (800) 771-6358.
STUDENT LOAN SERVICERS Student loan repayment has undergone tremendous reform over the past few decades. As part of these federal student debt relief initiatives, new options have become available to…
STUDENT LOAN SERVICERS Student loan repayment has undergone tremendous reform over the past few decades. As part of these federal student debt relief initiatives, new options have become available to those looking to benefit from today’s student loan forgiveness programs.Learn More