American Education Services (AES) – Learn How Student Loans Are Managed


Michael Brown Updated: April 23, 2019


Although they originally borrowed their tuition money from Uncle Sam, nearly 1 in 3 Americans with federal student loans make their monthly payments to a company called American Education Services. AES is the largest of the nine student loan servicers that currently handle day-to-day management of student loans for the U.S. Department of Education.

If your loans are being managed by AES, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the company and what they can do for you. Student loan servicers play a crucial role in tracking your payments, explaining your options if you’re having financial difficulties, and answering any questions you may have. Here’s what you need to know about AES.

About American Education Services

AES was founded by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) in 1963 to manage loans granted through the now-defunct Family Education Loan Program. Today, together with its partner agency FedLoan, it handles about 31% of the U.S. Department of Education’s direct loans, serving 8.4 million borrowers with debt totaling $292.7 billion. It also manages student loans for private companies including SunTrust, JP Morgan Chase, and PNC Bank.

What does AES do?

Like all loan servicers, AES handles a number of student loan-related tasks including:

  • Sending bills and account statements
  • Processing and keeping track of payments
  • Helping borrowers pick the best repayment plan
  • Dealing with requests for deferment or forbearance
  • Certifying borrowers for loan forgiveness

AES has several online tools for borrowers to manage their loans. After making an account on the AES website, you can view your balance and loan terms, switch payment plans, and print tax documents. There are several ways to make payments through the online portal. You can make a one-time payment, schedule up to 8 payments ahead of time, or set up direct debit. (Enrolling in direct debit can get you a .25% interest rate discount.) If you have more than one student loan, you can choose where any extra payments are applied.

AES trailed many of its competitors in offering mobile service, but it recently released applications for iOS and Android. Their mobile apps allow users to view their balances, make payments, and update contact information. Reviews have been mixed, with many users complaining of bugs and crashes, but AES has aimed to fix some of those problems through recent updates.

What benefits does AES provide?

In addition to its main website, AES offers limited educational and planning resources on two companion sites. EducationPlanner.org is geared toward parents and high school students. Another site, called “You Can Deal With It,” has budgeting and money management tips for college students and recent grads.

What repayment plans does AES provide?

Federal student loan repayment plans are dictated by the U.S. Department of Education, so all servicing companies offer similar options. Borrowers who have been assigned to work with AES are limited to the following repayment plans:

  • Standard, with fixed payments over 10 years
  • Graduated, with bills that start small and increase at regular intervals over 10 or 25 years
  • Extended, with fixed payments for 25 years
  • Income-driven plans including: 
    • a) Pay as you earn (PAYE),
    • b) Revised pay as you earn (REPAYE),
    • c) Income-based repayment,
    • d) Income-contingent repayment
    • e) Income-sensitive repayment

AES has a repayment estimator tool and a chart that briefly describes each plan, but a recurring consumer complaint is that the company doesn’t do enough to help borrowers understand the options, many of which sound very similar.

How does AES help people struggling with student loan payments?

If AES is your servicer and you’re having trouble making payments, the first step is to contact their customer service department. You might qualify for forbearance, deferment, or reduced payments if you’re unemployed, underemployed, or experiencing financial hardship. Extending the term of your loan could lower your monthly payments. There are several remedies that might provide relief in the short term, but none of them will lower the interest rate or amount you owe.

Are there other options to manage my student loans?

For many borrowers with AES-serviced loans, refinancing to a lower interest rate can shave thousands of dollars off the total repayment amount. It’s a good idea to explore refinancing, especially if you took out your loans before 2014 and are paying more than 4% interest. With a lower interest rate, more of your payment goes to principal, and that means your balance goes down much faster.

If you have multiple student loans, chances are you’re dealing with more than one loan servicing company. Consolidating your debt into a single loan can simplify your finances and get you out of debt faster. Consolidating through the federal government won’t lower your interest rate, but consolidating with a private lender can result in huge savings.

Here at Comet, we’ve helped people save more than $200 million on their student loans. Most banks that offer student loan refinancing have stringent underwriting standards. They are looking for borrowers with reasonably good credit scores, a low debt-to-income ratio, and steady employment. But even if your credit isn’t perfect, there may be ways to qualify. The first step is to request a personalized quote. With most modern lenders, you can get a decision in less than 15 minutes with no impact to your credit.

Wondering if you could be getting a better deal on your student loans? The lenders listed below topped our 2018 rankings for best customer service, product offerings, transparency, and ease of applying.

AES contact information

Office Hours: M - F: 7:30 AM - 9 PM (EST)

Email 

Phone:  1-800-233-0557

Mailing address for general correspondence:

American Edication Services
P.O. Box 2461
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2461

Website: http://www.aessuccess.org/ 


Click here for more information on the other main student loan servicers.

Refinance & Save Today With These Leading Lenders

#1 - Comet Recommended View More Details

Works with 275+ not-for-profit community lenders for higher approval chances

  • APR: 2.49% - 7.50%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Refinance up to $300K
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Visit LendKey View Loan Disclosure

LendKey operates student loan programs for over 275 not-for-profit and community lenders across the country. By partnering with these lenders, LendKey is able to give consumers direct access to the best rates available from the most borrower friendly institutions. As the servicer of all loans obtained through its platform, you can rest easy knowing your personal information will be safe and that the best customer service team will be ready to answer your questions from application until your final payment.

LendKey Student Loan Refinance review

  • Lightning fast rate check - 2-minute rate check with no impact on your credit score
  • More lenders, more options - see the best offers from over 275 not-for-profit and community lenders for higher approval chances
  • Life of loan relationship - With LendKey, your personal information will never be sent or passed on to third parties. Their customer service team is with you from the moment you land on their website until you've completely repaid your loan.
  • Unmatched benefits- Community lenders put people over profits and offer unique benefits like cosigner release after 12 on-time payments, interest only repayment options to keep monthly payments low, the largest unemployment protection period in the market, and more.

Get a personalized quote from LendKey now.

#2 View More Details

Offers unemployment protection and career/coaching/networking

  • APR: 2.490% - 8.074%
  • Minimum credit score: 650
  • Refinance up to 100% of student debt
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Visit SoFi View Loan Disclosure

SoFi, which stands for “Social Finance,” was created by a group of Stanford business students who found themselves with a mountain of debt after graduation. They set out to change the student loan industry and help borrowers like themselves to get lower interest rates. SoFi has some of the lowest interest rates and, unlike the other lenders we reviewed, it has no maximum amount you can finance. However, Nevada residents can’t currently refinance with SoFi. Minimum loan balances are higher in Arizona, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania due to state laws. Additional state restrictions may apply.

SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Review

  • Low interest rates - For well-qualified borrowers, SoFi offers some of the lowest rates we have found.
  • Strong customer service - It has more than 350 customer service reps available to help applicants through process.
  • Career coaching and networking - Perks include career services representatives who can help you find a job or negotiate a higher salary. SoFi also hosts networking events, happy hours and educational lectures on topics like buying a home in major cities around the country.
  • Unemployment protection - Borrowers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own may apply for Unemployment Protection. If approved, SoFi will suspend their monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during the forbearance period. These benefits are offered in three month increments, and are capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. Note that interest will still accrue while loans are in forbearance.

Find out what interest rate SoFi can offer you here.

#3 View More Details

For every loan they fund, they contribute to the education of a child in need

  • APR: 2.48% - 6.25%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Refinance up to $500K
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Visit CommonBond View Loan Disclosure

CommonBond was founded in 2011 by three MBA graduates from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School who wanted to help their peers escape from high-interest student loan debt. Its original focus was on grad students, but it has since expanded to cover undergrads as well.

Of all the companies we reviewed, CommonBond has some of the best customer service. The company prides itself on being easy to reach by email, phone, or live chat. It offers networking events, expert panels, insider newsletters, and even has a program help borrowers who lose their jobs to find new ones. CommonBond also makes you feel good about choosing to refinance with them by donating money to an education nonprofit for each loan they write.

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance review

  • Unemployment protections - If you lose your job or decide to go back to school, you can delay your payments for up to 24 months.
  • Social promise - For every loan they fund, they also contribute to the education of a child in need.
  • Hybrid loan option - Offerings include a 10-year hybrid loan with fixed interest for the first five years, and variable interest for the final five.
  • Referral bonus - For every friend you refer who refinances their loans with CommonBond, you’ll earn a $200 cash bonus.
  • Qualification - Borrowers must have graduated at least 2 years prior if they want to apply without a co-signer. And borrowers in 6 states – Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, South Dakota, and Vermont – cannot currently refinance through CommonBond.

Get a personalized review of your refinancing options with CommonBond today.

#4 View More Details

Earnest empowers people with the financial captial they need to live better lives.

  • APR: 2.49% - 7.89%
  • Minimum credit score: 650
  • Refinance up to $500K
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Visit Earnest View Loan Disclosure

Using technology, data, and design to build affordable products, Earnest's lending products are built for a new generation seeking to reach life's milestones. The company understands every applicant's unique financial story to offer the lowest possible rates and radically flexible loan options for living life.

  • Commitment-free 2 minute rate check
  • Client Happiness can be reached via in app messaging, email, and phone 
  • No fees for origination, prepayment, or loan disbursement
  • Flexible terms let you pick your exact monthly payment or switch between fixed and variable rates
  • Skip a payment and make it up later
  • Online dashboard is designed to make it easy to apply for and manage your loan

Click here to apply with Earnest and to see how much you can save.

#5 View More Details

Operates in all 50 states; 2nd largest student loan refinancing lender

  • APR: 2.50% - 7.02%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • No refinancing amount maximum
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Visit Laurel Road View Loan Disclosure

Laurel Road is a national online lender with customers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Many of our non-bank competitors are not able to lend in all 50 states.Laurel Road has grown to be the second largest player in the student loan refinancing space in large part because of our reputation as the go-to low rate provider.

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance Review

  • National reach - Online lender that is available in all 50 US states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
  • No fees & the lowest rates in the space - Laurel Road is the most transparent about the rates they provide customers, and offer the lowest rates where it counts. Our customers will save more than $20,000 over the life of their loans on average. 
  • Customer service reputation - Laurel Road's customer service representatives are no rookies. With 19 years of experience on average, Laurel Road’s Customer Service team delivers an experience that is best in the industry. They work to build meaningful, life-long relationships with our valued customers to improve their overall financial wellness.
  • The stability & security of a bank - They are a division of Darien Rowayton Bank, a stable and secure FDIC-insured bank, regulated by the FDIC and the Connecticut Department of Banking.

Get your personalized, pre-approved rates in less than 5 minutes.

#6 View More Details

Special offers for medical resident and fellow refinance products

  • APR: 3.10% - 7.84%
  • Minimum credit score: 670 w/cosigner
  • Refinance up to $350K
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Visit Splash View Loan Disclosure

Splash Financial is a leader in student loan refinancing with new rates as low as 3.25% fixed APR which can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loans. No application or origination fees and no prepayment penalties. Splash Financial is in all 50 states and is intensely focused on customer service. Splash Financial is also one of the few companies that offers a great medical resident and fellow refinance product. You can check your rate with Splash in just minutes.

  • Low interest rates – especially for graduate students
  • No application or origination fees. No prepayment penalties.
  • Co-signer release program - you can apply for a cosigner release form your loan after 12 months of on-time payments
  • Specialty product for doctors in training with low monthly payment

Click here to see more of Splash's offerings and to see how you can save money.

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