Navient Federal Student Loans

No name strikes fear into the heart of federal student loan borrowers quite as effectively as Navient. That’s because Navient, formerly known as Sallie Mae, is one of the largest federal student loan servicers, meaning that the company is responsible for overseeing the repayment of millions of student loan accounts.

While many borrowers view Navient (or any servicer) as an enemy to be dealt with, it’s important to realize that servicers are meant to play an important role in helping you repay your college debt.

Here, we take a closer look at Navient—who they are, what they do, their duties and responsibilities as your servicer—so that you will be better suited to make smart, informed decisions about how you repay your student loan.

Who is Navient?

Navient is one of the 11 student loan servicers currently tasked by the U.S. Department of Education to manage federal student loans.

Navient started its life as a student loan servicer in 1973, as the Student Loan Marketing Association. Also known as Sallie Mae, the company was a Government-Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) created by Congress to support federally-backed student loans made under the Higher Education Act of 1965.

In 2004, Sallie Mae’s government enterprise status was dissolved, and the company became a private sector business. In 2009, Sallie Mae received a contract to service federal student loans on behalf of the Department of Education. In 2013, the company announced plans to split into two publicly traded companies:

  • Sallie Mae, which would offer consumer banking services (such as private student loans, credit cards, and savings accounts)
  • Navient, which would continue to service federal student loans

Navient is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, but services federal student loans for borrowers around the country. This means that Navient may be your student loan servicer whether you live in Delaware, Colorado, Mississippi, Connecticut, or really anywhere in the United States.

Navient and Sallie Mae

Navient and Sallie Mae originated as one company, Sallie Mae, which serviced student loans in addition to providing other services and products. When the company split into Sallie Mae and Navient, Navient retained all of the original business’s educational loans. This means that if you originally had Sallie Mae as a servicer, your student loans were transferred to Navient as a part of that split.

What does Navient do?

As a federal student loan servicer, Navient is required to perform certain key duties by the U.S. Department of Education, including:

  • Managing your student loans in a broad sense
  • Accepting and applying your monthly student loan payments
  • Processing any student loan paperwork or forms
  • Maintaining due dates, loan status, and other logistics for your loans
  • Educating you about deferment and forbearance, forgiveness, and discharge options
  • Helping you understand the different repayment plans available to you
  • Answering any questions you may have about your student loans or repayment

Additionally, as a for-profit business, Navient has a number of other business segments in addition to offering federal student loan servicing. As such, Navient also:

  • Services private student loans on behalf of other banks and lenders
  • Offers student loan refinancing and private student loans through (under the business name Earnest)
  • Provides a range of business processing services

For this reason, even if you have never borrowed a federal student loan, you may find yourself interacting with Navient in a different form at some point in your life.

Types of Loans Serviced by Navient

As a federal servicer Navient manages most types of federal student loans, including:

Because Navient started out as Sallie Mae, which serviced loans made under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), Navient also handles those legacy loans. Additionally, Navient offers private student loans under the business name Earnest.

How to Contact Navient

If you ever have any questions about your student loans or worry that you may not be able to make your monthly payment, you should immediately contact your servicer to understand what options are available to you. Deferment, forbearance, forgiveness, a change of due dates, or a change in repayment plans can all help you more successfully repay your student loans. No matter what, you should never just stop making payments hoping that your loan debt will go away!

Navient’s business hours are 8am to 9pm EST Monday through Thursday and 8am to 8pm Friday. They are closed on the weekend. You can contact them through any of the ways listed below:

Navient Phone

Federal Student Loans

Private Student Loans

Navient Fax

Federal Student Loans

Private Student Loans

Navient Email

In order to email Navient to discuss either your federal or private student loans, you will need to log into your account and use the Email Us feature in your account’s Help Center.

Navient Mail

General Correspondence for Federal Student Loans
Navient – U.S. Department of Education Loan Servicing
P.O. Box 9635
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773-9635

Federal Student Loan Payments
Navient – U.S. Department of Education Loan Servicing
P.O. Box 4450
Portland, OR 97208-4450

General Correspondence for Private Student Loans
P.O. Box 9640
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773-9640

Private Student Loan Payments
P.O. Box 9000
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773-9000

Alternatives to Navient Servicing

Some borrowers may wonder if it’s possible to transfer your federal student loans from Navient to another servicer. Maybe you haven’t had the best customer service with Navient. Maybe you’ve heard about other customer complaints. Maybe you have another student loan with a different servicer, and you’d like to have them all handled together.

Whatever the case, because the Department of Education decides who your servicer is, it is unfortunately not typically possible to transfer your student loans from one servicer to another. That being said, it is possible to get a new servicer by pursuing student loan consolidation or refinancing, if those options appeal to you.

Student Loan Consolidation

Student loan consolidation is the process of merging together multiple federal student loans into a single new federal loan, called a Direct Consolidation Loan. In pursuing consolidation, you will have the option to request that your loan is either transferred to a new servicer or remain with your existing servicer. While this request is not always honored, it often will be.

Though consolidation can help you get your loan transferred to a new servicer, and may even help make it easier for you to keep track of your student loans, it isn’t the right move for everyone. Consolidation resets the clock for forgiveness, and may remove certain repayment options that you enjoy with your current loans, so it’s important to understand the pros and cons of consolidating your student loans before you pursue it.

Student Loan Refinancing

Another option you have is refinancing. Through refinancing, you convert your federal student loans into a private student loan offered by a private lender. Ultimately, you have the right to choose which lender you want to work with, which means that refinancing offers you the final say.

While refinancing can bring some powerful benefits for some borrowers—such as reduced interest rates or more manageable monthly payments—it also has its drawbacks. By converting your federal student loan into a private one, you’re giving up certain borrower protections that federal borrowers enjoy, such as deferment and forbearance options, as well as a variety of repayment plans. As with consolidation, it’s crucial that you understand the pros and cons of refinancing your student loans to make sure that you are making the right decision for your situation.

It is also worth noting that Navient has its own refinancing branch under the name of Earnest. If you are seeking to refinance your student loans specifically because you have had a bad experience with Navient, you will probably want to work with a lender or refinancing company besides Earnest.