Navient Student Loans Review
Navient services federal direct loans and private student loans. It recently expanded into student loan refinancing through NaviRefi after acquiring Earnest. Navient has also been the focus of various consumer complaints and lawsuits in recent years.
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If you have student loans, there’s a good chance that you’re sending your student loan payments to Navient. It’s one of the largest student loan servicers in the U.S., handling both federal student loans, including Parent PLUS loans, and private student loans.
Navient manages the billing, services, and the loan repayment process. But it also launched a company, NaviRefi, in 2018 that offers student loan refinancing.
There’s so much more to know about Navient, whether it processes your loan payments or if you refinance your student loans through its related company.
In this review:
Getting to Know Navient
Navient was once part of Sallie Mae, which started as the government-sponsored enterprise Student Loan Marketing Association in 1972. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education announced it would begin issuing federal student loans directly to borrowers. This meant the U.S. government would no longer depend on companies like Sallie Mae to distribute federal student loans.
To manage this change, Sallie Mae split into two public companies in 2013. Sallie Mae continues to provide a variety of services, including issuing private student loans.
The Navient spin-off was designed so the company could focus on loan servicing for private and federal student loan debt. Since the spin-off, Navient has taken over many contracts that Sallie Mae previously held with the Department of Education.
In 2017, Navient acquired the financial technology company Earnest and launched NaviRefi in 2018 to offer student loan refinancing.
Refinancing With NaviRefi
|Fixed Rates||Not disclosed|
|Variable Rates||Not disclosed|
|Loan Terms||5 to 20 years|
|Loan Amounts||$5,001 – $250,000|
At this time, NaviRefi is only extending an offer to refinance student loans to current Navient customers by invitation through email or letter. Once you get invited, the application process is fairly simple, and you can receive a quote within minutes. You can refinance your student loans to lower your monthly payments or pay them off faster.
Once approved, you can refinance multiple loans and have one simplified repayment plan. You can refinance a minimum loan amount of $5,001 up to $250,000 for loans for medical, dental, pharmacy, or veterinary doctorate programs. There are no origination or prepayment fees.
Since this service is fairly new, there isn’t a lot of feedback yet on how it works. You will, however, likely need a good credit score and good repayment history on existing student loans. And the loans are not available in California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, or Nevada.
NaviRefi offers fixed-rate and variable-rate loans, but some states will only allow fixed-rate loans from NaviRefi.
NaviRefi loans are made by Earnest Operations (see our full Earnest Student Loans Review here) and serviced by Navient Solutions.
This is considered a private loan, so if you refinance your federal loans through NaviRefi, you will lose the benefits and protections of your federal student loans, including access to income-driven repayment plans and other repayment options.
>> Read More: NaviRefi Student Loan Refinancing Review
Benefits of Navient
There are some advantages to working with Navient. For one, it offers a variety of repayment options and as noted above, for some customers, the opportunity to refinance. Borrowers have the option to customize their monthly payments within certain parameters, set up automatic payments from your bank account, more.
When it comes to federal loans, borrowers have access to the standard lineup of federal loan benefits including income-driven repayment plans; standard, graduated, and extended repayment plans; forbearance and deferment; and the potential for student loan forgiveness and discharge.
The company also offers hardship options for private student loans, including a rate reduction program, term and rate modification, interest-only, and extended student loan repayment plans. Your eligibility depends on the terms of your loan and a review of your financial situation in some cases.
Drawbacks of Navient
Navient has experienced its share of controversy over the years. Last year, it began issuing refunds averaging about $770 each to 80,000 veterans who were overcharged for their student loans. Navient will have to pay $60 million total.
Illinois attorney general Lisa Madigan filed suit against Navient for alleged misdeeds, and a few other states have followed. It has also been investigated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for allegedly cheating borrowers. And it is currently facing several lawsuits claiming the servicer harmed student loan borrowers during the repayment process.
The financial institution has had numerous consumer complaints about its customer service and actually received the most CFPB complaints of all student loan companies in 2018.
>> Read More: Navient Lawsuits: Updates and Impact
Alternatives to Navient
If you’re not completely sold on Navient student loans, there are several private loan alternatives you can consider. Particularly when it comes to refinancing education loans.
- Earnest offers refinancing loans with rates as low as 2.39%
- ELFI offers refinancing loans with rates as low as 2.39%
- Citizens Bank offers refinancing loans with rates as low as 2.72%
You should always do your homework before taking on a new student loan company. Get quotes from multiple companies so you can ensure that you’re finding the best deal possible in terms of interest rate, loan program, repayment options, and overall benefits.
If Navient services your federal student loans, but you don’t want to refinance those loans with a private lender, you might be able to switch to a different loan servicer by applying for federal direct loan consolidation.
>> Read More: List of student loan companies
Author: Jeff Gitlen, CEPF®