Navient Student Loans – Learn How They Work


Michael Brown Updated: April 23, 2019

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.

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.

Are there other options to manage my student loans?

Many borrowers with Navient-serviced loans have been able to cut their monthly payments and save thousands of dollars over the life of their loans by refinancing with a private lender. Private lenders are often able to offer significantly lower interest rates than the standard, one-size-fits-all rates set by Congress for federal loans. Borrowers who owe at least $5,000, have finished their degrees, and have good credit scores are the most likely to benefit from refinancing. In a recent analysis we found that people who refinanced with private lenders saved an average of $259 a month and $19,231 over the life of their student loans.

At the Nitro, we regularly evaluate companies that offer student loan refinancing based on a comprehensive 23-point assessment. The lenders listed below topped our ratings for 2018, based on their interest rates, transparency, product offerings, track records, ease of applying, and customer service. They all have online applications that take 5 minutes or less and provide instant results with no impact to credit.

Find out now if you could save money by refinancing with the top lenders listed below...

Navient Contact Information

Office Hours:

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

Contact Us: https://www.navient.com/about/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

Website: https://www.navient.com/


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

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

  • APR: 2.41% - 7.82%
  • Minimum credit score: 650
  • Refinance up to $500K
View More Details
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.

#2 View More Details

Many ELFI customers save hundreds per month month and thousands over the length of the loan term.

  • APR: 2.80% - 6.69%
  • Minimum credit score: 680
  • No refinancing maximum amount
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Visit ElFi View Loan Disclosure

Education Loan Finance is designed to assist borrowers through consolidating outstanding education loans into one single loan that effectively lowers your costs of education and/or makes repayment very simple. Education Loan Finance - backed by the strength of SouthEast Bank - combines the benefits of traditional education loan refinancing with the superior products, service, and support found in the private market.

Education Loan Finance (ElFi) review

Check out their low rates today to see how much you can save.

  • Get Your Rate. With Education Loan Finance's Find My Rate tool, you can complete a short application to receive a preliminary quote on your eligible rates and terms, all without affecting your credit score.
  • Apply in Minutes. Education Loan Finance's online application is fast and simple.
  • Outstanding Personalized Service. Our Personalized Loan Advisors specialize in student loan refinancing and help busy professionals find the option that's right for them.
  • Student Lending Experience: Education Loan Finance isn't a start-up company - we have a longstanding history and expertise in serving student loan borrowers.

Attractive Bonus and Referral Programs:

  • Education Loan Finance Fast Track Bonus**: Education Loan Finance's application process is streamlined and simple, and you can earn a $200 bonus just for closing your loan within 30 days of your initial application.
  • Education Loan Finance Referral Program**: Earn $400 for each new Education Loan Finance Client referred by you!
#3 View More Details

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

  • APR: 2.38% - 7.50%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Refinance up to $300K
View More Details
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.

#4 View More Details

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

  • APR: 2.43% - 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.

#5 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
View More Details
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.

#6 View More Details

Offers unemployment protection and career/coaching/networking

  • APR: 2.430% - 8.074%
  • Minimum credit score: 650
  • Refinance up to 100% of student debt
View More Details
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.

#7 View More Details

Special offers for medical resident and fellow refinance products

  • APR: 3.02% - 7.76%
  • Minimum credit score: 670 w/cosigner
  • Refinance up to $350K
View More Details
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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