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Why Did My Student Loans Disappear?

A woman sits on the floor with her laptop open and loan papers scattered around her
Damircudic/Getty Images

What's happening

If Navient was your federal loan servicer, your loans have been transferred to Aidvantage.

Why it matters

With the federal loan pause ending in September, you'll want to know how to log into Aidvantage's website to view your student loan account.

What's next

The payment pause could be extended again, but we recommend verifying your Aidvantage account now, just in case.

Federal student loan repayments have been paused for more than two years, since the start of the pandemic. It's unclear if the pause will be extended again, and currently payments are set to resume in September. If you haven't logged into your student loan account since the payment freeze began, now is a good time to check in. 

If you had Navient federal student loans owned by the US Department of Education, your loans have moved to a new loan servicer. In 2021, Navient exited the federal student loan servicing industry, transferring its caseload of 5.6 million student loans to Aidvantage, which is owned by student loan giant Maximus. The new loan servicer will not affect the existing terms and conditions, interest rates or available repayment plans, but you should carefully review any communications you received about the transfer. 

Here's everything you need to know about what happened to Navient, and how to log in to your new Aidvantage student loan account.

Why did Navient leave the student loan industry?

Navient was long under fire from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which sued the loan servicer in 2017: It claimed that the company had pushed borrowers into costly, subprime private loans they would be unable to repay. In January, Navient canceled $1.7 billion in private student loans for nearly 66,000 borrowers after coming under scrutiny for engaging in abusive and deceptive practices, including targeting students the company allegedly knew couldn't pay back loans

In 2020, the US Department of Education announced changes to loan servicing in an effort to modernize the federal student loan system. As part of the Next Gen Initiative, the Department of Education extended its partnership with five of the 10 current loan servicers, which would continue servicing federal student loans, but under stricter government regulations. Navient, along with FedLoan and Granite State, opted to end their participation in federal student loan servicing at the end of 2021.

Michael Lux, a student loan expert, attorney and founder of the Student Loan Sherpa, said that the "increase in federal regulation and government scrutiny over federal loan servicing is almost certainly to blame for Navient's departure." 

What does Navient's departure mean for your student loans?

If your federal student loans were previously serviced by Navient, here's what you need to know:

1. Aidvantage is your new student loan servicer

By now, you should have been notified of this change by mail or email from Navient, Aidvantage and the Department of Education. If you have not received a notification, you should log in to your existing Navient account and double-check your contact information to make sure it's correct. Even if your address was outdated, you should be able to log in to your new account. 

2. You can access your Aidvantage account with Navient credentials

If you try to log in to Navient, you'll find a $0 balance: This balance is simply showing that your loans have been purchased by Aidvantage. To log in to your new account, visit aidvantage.com and enter your Navient login information.

The process is nearly identical to Navient's. Once you enter your login and password, you'll be prompted to enter your Social Security number or account number and date of birth to confirm your identity. From there, you'll be taken to the Aidvantage account home page, which looks just like the Navient landing page, right down to the left-hand navigation options.

If you can't remember your login information, select "Forgot user ID" or "Forgot password" and confirm a personal identification question to have a new one emailed to you. If you still can't get in or no longer have access to the email on file, reach out to Aidvantage for assistance at 800-722-1300.

3. Your payment preferences should be the same, but double check

Any payment terms you set up with Navient -- autopay, deferment, income-driven repayment plans -- should have transferred seamlessly to Aidvantage. Of course, since federal student loan payments have been paused for over 20 months, you may need to review the payment details, particularly with the end of forbearance approaching. And, if your job situation has changed since you last reviewed your loan repayment options, you may want to apply for income-driven repayment or other repayment options through Aidvantage now, so you're ready to go when repayment begins in September.

So after logging in to Aidvantage, you should find that your preferred payment method and autopay selection have transferred over, along with your payment history and record of loans paid in full.

4. Repayment is currently scheduled for September

Federal student loan payments remain on pause through Aug. 31. If you haven't already been paying your loans during the forbearance period, be sure you know what your monthly payment will be now, so you can factor this into your budget. You can also explore the repayment options if you need additional assistance. 

If you want to explore further deferment or forbearance options, you can do this through your account online under "Repayment options." You can also speak to Aidvantage directly at 800-722-1300.

FAQs

Did Navient become Aidvantage?

No. At the end of 2021, Navient transferred its caseload of 5.6 million student loans to Maximus, another federal student loan contractor. Maximus is operating its student loan servicing under the name Aidvantage.

Should I pay my student loans now or wait for loan forgiveness?

There's no guarantee of widespread student loan forgiveness, but the latest news indicates that the Biden administration may be considering $10,000 in federal student loan relief, with some income limitations. No official announcements have been made yet. Unless you have only this amount in federal student loans or less, it's smart to plan for repayment now. And, if you're able to, paying during the pause can lower your principal loan amount, helping you save money on interest when payments resume.

If you're a teacher, healthcare worker, firefighter or other public servant, you may be eligible for forgiveness through the expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Since changes were made last October, the PSLF has identified more than 113,000 borrowers eligible for loan cancelation. If you're eligible for the PSLF or were on an income-driven repayment plan, which offers you forgiveness after 20 to 25 years of payments, each month of paused payments counts towards your loan forgiveness goal. So, you should plan for repayment, but there is little benefit in making payments during the freeze.