Navient Student Loans – Learn How They Work

Michael Brown Updated: December 13, 2022


If you borrowed money to go to college, chances are you’ve heard of Sallie Mae (the nickname for the Student Loan Marketing Association). But you may not know that the Sallie Mae of a few years ago is quite different than today. To comply with a federal regulation barring private lenders from servicing federal loans, Sallie Mae split into two companies in 2014. Sallie Mae continued to issue private loans. Its new spinoff firm, Navient Corp., took over loan servicing responsibilities, collecting payments on billions of dollars of student loans issued by the U.S. Department of Education.

Today, Navient is one of the nation’s biggest loan servicers, handling about 1 in 5 student loans issued by the federal government. Here’s everything you need to know about Navient.

News alert: Your loan servicer will change soon

As 2021 draws to a close, Navient is transferring its loans to Aidvantage, a new servicer that is part of Maximus.  

What does that mean for you? You'll soon be getting mail about your account from Aidvantage. You should also hear from Navient and the Dept. of Education as well to confirm the changes.

Other than that, not much will change. Your loan payments and other key details won't change. 

About Navient Corp.

Navient is the nation’s third-largest federal student loan servicer. Navient came into being in 2014 when Sallie Mae split into two companies. Sallie Mae was created by the U.S. Congress in 1972 and operated as a government-sponsored enterprise until 2004, when it became a private corporation. Sallie Mae and Navient are now completely separate, public firms with shares traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange.


Navient handles about 22% of the U.S. Dept. of Education’s direct loans, serving almost 7 million borrowers with debt totaling over $200 billion. Many borrowers who took out federal loans from Sallie Mae prior to 2014 had their debt shifted to Navient in October 2014. Navient also services a large portfolio of private student loans and has several debt collection subsidiaries including Pioneer Credit Recovery and General Revenue Corporation.

What does Navient do?

Like all loan servicers, Navient acts as a liaison between borrowers and their lender, the U.S. government. Navient sends bills and account statements, processes payments, helps borrowers change payment plans, and deals with requests for deferment or forbearance. It also certifies borrowers for loan forgiveness. 

Borrowers are encouraged to set up accounts on Navient’s website, which has some tools to help them manage their their loans. Account holders can set up autopay, change repayment plans, learn about loan forgiveness, change due dates, calculate payoff times, and print tax documents.

What other tools does Navient provide?

Navient’s website has some educational resources to help borrowers manage their finances. These include interactive budgeting worksheets, a financial tips blog, and dozens of “Path to Success” and “Career Playbook” videos. The company also has a mobile app to make loan payment more convenient. The application has received mixed reviews from users, but it offers the same basic functions as the website.

What repayment plans does Navient offer?

All federal student loan servicers offer the same basic repayment options, established by the U.S. Department of Education. Borrowers with Navient-serviced loans can choose from repayment plans including:

  • Standard repayment, with equal monthly bills over a 10-year period
  • Extended repayment, with equal monthly bills over a 25-year period
  • Graduated repayment, with monthly bills that start small but increase at scheduled intervals over either 10 or 25 years.

Navient also helps eligible borrowers enroll in a handful of federal income-driven repayment programs, in which payments are capped at a certain percentage of their incomes.

How does Navient help people struggling with student loan payments?

If you have a Navient-serviced loan and are having difficulty making your payments, the first step is to contact Navient’s customer service department. In most cases, borrowers who are unemployed or experiencing financial hardship can qualify for forbearance or deferment. If you are on a standard 10-year repayment plan, extending the term of your loan to 25 years can dramatically lower your monthly payments.

However, while postponing payments or extending payoff time can help in the short term, both options will keep you in debt longer and increase the amount of interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan. Federal loan servicers are not able to decrease your interest rate.

Navient Contact Information

Office Hours:

M-TH: 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM (EST)
F: 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM (EST)

Contact Us: 

Phone:  1-800-722-1300

Mailing Address:

Navient U.S. Department of Education Loan Servicing
P.O. Box 9635
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773-9635


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