Aidvantage is the federal loan servicing unit of Maximus Education. In December 2021, it began servicing loans owned by the Department of Education that were previously serviced by Navient. This change was due to Navient’s departure as a loan servicing business, specifically for Direct Loans and government-owned Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) Loans.
In surveys we’ve conducted with student loan borrowers, Navient was one of the least-liked servicers — so this change could be beneficial for borrowers who’ve had a subpar experience with Navient. But there are some important aspects of this change to keep in mind.
Here’s what to know Aidvantage student loans and how they could compare to Navient student loans.
1. Subsidiary of Maximus Education
Aidvantage is a subsidiary of Maximus Education — which currently manages defaulted student loans.
“It’s very clear that not a whole lot is probably going to change with the quality of the servicing you receive, regardless of what the Department of Education officials say,” said Student Loan Planner CEO Travis Hornsby. “This is a company that manages defaults for the Department of Education currently, and in my opinion, they don’t do a very good job of it.”
Travis goes on to note that borrowers who are in default often receive poor guidance from servicers about their options. In fact, Maximus faced a civil lawsuit in February 2020 claiming illegal collection practices.
2. Be on the lookout for correspondence
Aidvantage will send certain ex-Navient borrowers a welcome letter once the switch is completed. This letter should have the information you need to access your online account and contact information to discuss your loans going forward.
Keep in mind, nothing will change with your actual loan as a result of the switch. You’ll just be communicating with Aidvantage as your new loan servicer. This means you’ll log into a different website and contact a different customer service team.
3. Your account number (and more) stays the same
There’s a lot that’s staying the same once your loan(s) is transferred to Aidvantage student loans. Here’s what won’t change:
- You account number
- The terms of your loan — this includes the interest rate, length and any benefits that were associated with it
- The customer service number. Even though the website you’ll login to will change, apparently the number you’ll call for customer support will stay the same
- Your user ID and password
4. Educational materials from Aidvantage
Aidvantage doesn’t have a robust website or tools to guide borrowers through the repayment process. Instead of web pages, its header links to PDFs drafted by Maximus Education that regurgitate information that’s already available on the federal government’s website.
It doesn’t look like a lot of thought has gone into developing these resources — one of them was even exported with an extra blank page attached at the end.
If you’re hoping for more educational information or guidance from your student loan servicer, it’s unlikely you’ll receive that from the bare-bones Aidvantage website.
Some borrowers appreciate the level of attention and guidance they receive from private student loan companies, but it doesn’t appear that Aidvantage will have much to offer in this regard. If you need help understanding your repayment strategies, it might be best to talk to a professional student loan consultant.
5. Changing your interest rate (TL;DR, you can’t)
Even though your loans that were previously serviced by Navient will switch to Aidvantage, this isn’t an opportunity to bargain for different repayment terms or lower interest rates. This switch isn’t similar to student loan refinancing or consolidating your student loan debt where your terms and interest rate might be modified.
The interest rate for your federal student loans is determined by Congress, not Aidvantage — the servicer has no authority to change your interest rate.
If you have FFELP loans that aren’t serviced by the Department of Education, or if you have private loans that are serviced by Navient, these will remain under Navient’s purview. This means you could potentially have two student loan servicers, if you originally had a mix of student loan types with Navient.
You’ll then have to login to two separate websites, call two separate customer service centers, have two separate monthly student loan payments, and so on. Also, when you enroll in a repayment plan with one servicer, it won’t impact your loans through the other servicer.
This will likely only impact a small percentage of borrowers who have FFELP or private loans with Navient and additional loans that got transferred to Aidvantage.
7. Sending checks to repay your student loans
If you’re sending checks to repay your student loans, you can continue sending them to the same address. However, ensure it’s addressed to “Aidvantage” instead of “Navient”. Make this change once Aidvantage has officially reached out to you as your servicer — again, you’ll receive a welcome letter in the mail when this occurs.
Last thing to know about Aidvantage
The biggest thing to remember about the switch between loan servicers, Navient to Aidvantage, is that there likely isn’t going to be a massive change in process.
If you have a student loan repayment strategy you’re satisfied with, you probably won’t be greatly impacted apart from verifying your online account access through Aidvantage’s new website.
Similarly, this could be a good time to re-evaluate your repayment strategy if you’re currently dissatisfied with your plan. Learn more about other repayment plan options.