Conduent Business Services acquired ACS Student Loans, one of the major servicers for both federal and private student loans, at the beginning of 2017.
The acquisition resulted in a change of name for ACS Student Loans to Conduent Education Services. While the name change caused some confusion, borrowers using ACS Student Loans experienced no change in their loan terms or payment options. However, the change to Conduent Education Services came after a significant hit for ACS.
ACS Student Loans Lawsuit and Acquisition
In Massachusetts, the student loan servicer ACS was fined $2.4 million for several reasons, including allegedly delaying applications for income-driven repayment plans for thousands of borrowers. The servicer was also fined for reportedly charging excessive fees on some loans and failing to comply with caps set on interest rates under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. ACS Student Loans admitted no wrongdoing.
Some argue the change to Conduent Education Services was due to the bad press surrounding the charges and subsequent fine. A re-branding seemed necessary to improve borrowers’ perceptions of the company, but little has changed in terms of how student loans held with Conduent are serviced.
Conduent Education Services Benefits
Conduent Education Services, like most other student loan servicers, provides several options for borrowers to manage and pay their student loans. Through its online platform, Conduent offers access to payment information, express payment options, recurring payments, e-billing and e-mail reminders, and electronic delivery of tax forms. The student loan servicer also gives borrowers the option to apply for deferment or forbearance on FFEL student loans through its online platform.
Conduent services several types of student loan accounts, including private student loans, Perkins Loans, campus-based loans, and FFEL (Federal Family Education Loans). Under the FFEL program, Conduent gives borrowers the option to select a standard 10-year repayment plan, a graduated repayment plan, or an extended repayment plan for up to 25 years. Automatic payments are available through the servicer, as is prepayment for certain loans.
Issues With Conduent Education
In addition to the notable lawsuit with ACS Student Loans, Conduent’s student loan servicing practices have come under fire from several borrowers complaining about the transition period. Some borrowers were locked out of their accounts as ACS became Conduent, meaning they were unable to make payments on their loans easily. Other complaints involve the high call volume the company consistently experiences, which leaves borrowers with little to no way to get in touch with a loan representative for help.
Contact Information for Borrowers
Most borrowers interact with Conduent through its online platform, whether it is for a deferment or forbearance application, making a monthly payment, or requesting documentation on student loans. However, borrowers may also contact the student loan service by phone. Conduent provides three different contact numbers for borrowers, based on their loan program.
- For FFEL borrowers, a loan representative can be reached at 1-800-835-4611 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET.
- For campus-based student loans including Perkins loans, borrowers can call 1-800-826-4470 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.
- Private loan borrowers can call 1-800-508-0806 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET.
Switching From Conduent Education Services
One of the downsides of federal student loans is the reality that student loan borrowers cannot select the servicer to manage their loans. The Department of Education selects the servicer that will handle the loan and its interest calculations, repayments, and deferment or forbearance applications. In order to change a servicer on a federal student loan, a borrower would have to refinance student loans through a private lender.
Private loans held with Conduent may be more easily changed to another servicer through the refinancing process. Refinancing requires a borrower to select a private loan company and then apply for a new student loan that will ultimately replace the current loan held with Conduent. The benefit of refinancing is the potential for a lower interest rate, an extended repayment term, or lower monthly payments.
A new student loan provider may also offer better customer service, easier access to make payments or changes to an account, or have other benefits like educational resources and borrower events. However, refinancing a federal student loan from Conduent to a private student loan with another lender takes away inherent federal loan benefits, including forbearance and deferment options, income-based repayment plans, and student loan forgiveness in the future.
At this time, borrowers cannot refinance student loans with Conduent as a private student loan lender. The company operates as a servicer, not an originator, so borrowers must find another option if they want to refinance.
Author: Melissa Horton
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