sallie mae student loans review

The Big Navient Review

Michael Lux Blog, Student Loans 25 Comments

Last year Sallie Mae cut up its company into two separate student loan companies. Sallie Mae held on to some of its loans and assets, and a number of them went to a new company called Navient. At present these are two entirely seperate companies, but from a borrower perspective, they could easily be called Sallie Mae 1 and Sallie Mae 2. Navient is run largely by former Sallie Mae employees and almost of of the debt that they manage was previously with Sallie Mae.

The Challenge to Reviewing Navient

Because Navient is literally a brand new company, it will take some time before we fully understand the implications of the split from Sallie Mae and how it will affect customers. For now, we can discuss the good and the bad based upon our limited information. At the bottom of this page is also a form for borrowers to share their experiences with Navient. This page will continually be updated as new information becomes available and borrowers share their experiences.  Initially, we will award five out of ten points until we get enough customer input to adjust the grade up or down.

What is good about Navient?

Even though Navient is a new company, they still must play by the same rules that Sallie Mae did. Though student loan consumer protection is way behind other industries such as credit cards and mortgages, some protections will remain. For starters, if you had a loan with Sallie Mae that was transferred to Navient, it means the terms of the contract will still be the same. Navient cannot double your interest rates just because they are a new company.

Along the same lines, Navient must still play ball with the Federal Government. Navient is taking over many of the Sallie Mae contracts with the Department of Education. This means that many federal loans will be managed by Navient. One of the protections borrowers have is the ability to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Should Navient provide a negative customer experience, borrowers can file a complaint, and Navient will be forced to respond to both the borrower and the CFPB. Failing to work with the federal government would be devastating to Navient as their contracts are very lucrative.

One other thing that we like about Navient so far is that they are continuing the rate reduction program that started out with Sallie Mae. This program, even though not required by loan agreements, allows struggling borrowers to get a lower interest rate on their student loans for one year at a time. It isn’t a magic fix, but it can help borrowers keep their debt under control without being forced to take a deferment or a forbearance

What is the bad news on Navient?

Sallie Mae had a terrible reputation among student loan borrowers. Navient, though a new company, is still pretty much the Sallie Mae we all know. In fact, Forbes describes Navient as the old Sallie Mae. New Sallie Mae is more of a financial services company focused on banking for college students and families.

If the Sallie Mae that we saw the last five to ten years was a car, it would have been rusted out, unreliable, and frustrating to deal with. Calling it Navient may add a new coat of paint, but unless the fundamental issues are addressed, it will continue to provide a lousy user experience.

The Bottom Line

Only time will tell whether calling the company Navient is a gimmick or the beginning of a fundamental corporate shift aimed at better meeting the needs of student loan borrowers.

Navient Customers: How would you describe your experience? Is Navient better or worse than Sallie Mae? What have you liked and what did you dislike?

  • A new name or company has a opportunity to change, but I doubt if they will. I hate to sound pessimistic, but why should they?

    • You make a good point, there really isn’t much of an incentive for them to treat customers better.

  • Meg Griswold

    I paid off a lump sum of my Navient loans last month and they took this opportunity to raise my payment by $120! They said they reverted my loan from its 25 year repayment to 10 years. They would not budge. Their argument is that the federal guidelines say the payment can’t go below $50. I told them there had to be a middle ground. They said that there is no other option. I have called them three times and always I talk to someone in a call center. They ran me around in circles and then just kept saying they were sorry, but my payment had gone from $56 to $171. And of course I am trapped! Do you know how or where I can lodge a formal complaint? Should I look into getting a lawyer?

    • If you want to file a formal complaint against your lender, you can do it through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Here is a brief description on what you can expect from the process:

    • Meg Griswold

      Thank you. This is my project for the next few weeks.

    • Tammy

      Were your loans with Navient private or federal?

    • Meg Griswold

      Federal Stafford loans. I had both subsidized and unsubsidized.

    • Tammy

      Thanks. My son has private student loans with what is now Navient and I was hoping beyond hope that we could work out a 25 year repayment plan with them.

    • dan

      Hi Meg, Navient did the exact same to me…did you get this issue resolved and if so how?

    • Meg Griswold

      No, they would not budge. I spent hours on the phone. I went up the chain of command. Nothing changed. I just had to suck it up and make the higher payment.

    • Lancelot Capability Brown

      The ombudsman I spoke with said payments can most definitely go below $50; in fact, they can be $0 if you meet the criteria on an income-based repayment plan.

  • Ivan borrego

    It is the biggest crap I’ve seen as a company, are bad in customer care, obstruct the formalities of client

  • Ivan borrego

    Es la peor compañia que he visto en mi vida ,en vez de ayudar a los clientes con las trabas que Navient crea ,lo q haces es dificultar y crear mas problemas ,el servicio al cliente realmente MALO ,estoy muy descontento con el servicio de Navient,quisiera que fueran al quiebre y desaparecieran de la humanidad .
    Dios me perdone, pero son muy mala compañia ,NO LE RECOMIENDO A NINGUNA PERSONA EL SERVICIO DE NAVIENT

  • Edie Rae Nasby Sanders

    have a question. My son received a refund check from Sallie Mae. While I am not complaining because they already have received way more than I would like. The letter attached to the check states the refund is for charging a minimum late fee plus their billing statement disclosures relating to when late fees were charged caused confusion for their customers. Signed with apologies.

    I’ve been watching your post to the active refunds that Sallie Mae is to make it right for military personnel while they were in service.
    Our problem was when my son entered the service (after his first two years of school loans). There was an option to let the Military pay the outstanding loans instead of GI Bill but… you had to submit the information within the first three days maybe??? in order for them to have it written up in your contract. I’m not 100% sure on the 3 day time line as I’m writing this to you but it was very minimal. I went right to work by contacting Sallie Mae for the military needed proof plus all paperwork to get the ball rolling. Dad to say that it fell through the cracks due to Sallie Mae dragging their feet. We ended up just giving up because we couldn’t do anything due to the days already passed.
    I then tried two times to put a halt on all fees and interest charges for him while on active duty.
    (PS: I have full Durable POA for him)
    Sallie Mae’s account representatives words were “they don’t acknowledge the soldiers act for fees and interest charges”.
    That left me so frustrated and confused. How do we get reimbursement for all the added fees and charges for all these high interest loans? Any help given is Greatly Appreciated!
    Another Note: My son was injured in the military with a 30% rating and has an honorable medical discharge…. but thankfully he is using the post 911 bill to complete his Bachelor’s Degree.
    I am lost how to help him with Sallie Mae’s 50K debt?

  • Tammy

    How do we go about getting a 25 year repayment plan for my son’s Navient private loans?

  • Jay

    Navient has horrible customer service. I have been trying to get a payment plan since December 2014, and they keep losing faxed documents. Most recently, I sent over pay check stubs by fax and five days later, they claim they received the cover sheet and not the other pages. I plan to file a complaint!

    • Lancelot Capability Brown

      They have lost literally 100% of my income documentation over the years. That’s not hyperbole: every single application I sent in for either Navient or Sallie Mae has had the income documentation lost. For years I could count on resubmitting and they would get the second or third attempt. Lately, when I’ve resubmitted, they’ve lost that as well. It doesn’t help that two applications I completed on studentloans (dot) gov just disappeared. I have the email confirmation but the application just went away after a few weeks. This has caused so much delay that I’m about to have my loans go into permanent default, even though I’ve tried hard to work with them.

      The law of averages suggests this is a deliberate ploy on their part, though I’m not sure why; no one has a 100% success rate at failure unless they’re trying to do it on purpose.

  • Patrick Brady

    keep an eye on them. they collect 660.00 from me and i owe only 500 per month. have been putting it toward the wrong loan number and keeps charging me a late fee. Had to get my bank involved since it was automatic payment. And guess what they did it again. no apology no nothing. september payments are going to go out according to my account but according to them i have already paid. Terrible terrible company. I would advise going to some other company.

  • Natalie

    I hate this company! They are the definition of incompetent! Every time I have to change something or discuss something, they always get it completely wrong and then start harassing me with tons of phone calls and emails. They never apologize and treat me like I’m the one causing the problems. Someone commented below how their payments were going to the wrong loan, I had the same problem. I’ve been over charged on many occasions and they can’t figure out how or why. I am in the process of trying to find a new loan with a competent company. I can’t wait to get away from them!

  • Sherri randall

    Navient called me a liar and hung up on me desiree was the manager. After trying four times to get answers about account

  • anonymous

    Navient is the ABSOLUTE WORST COMPANY EVER! My poor husband who worked so hard to gain an academic scholarship and a running scholarship still ended up with $84k in loans after graduation. With the focus on our wedding and his aspiration to become a chef, Navient decided to up our interest rates to 12%! We are now stuck with $100k in loans. We went backwards. The customer service is terrible, slow and rude. The managers are not helpful. They DO NOT offer the opportunity to re-finance. We tried to do a default settlement (ex. you owe $100k and you say okay ill give you $50k cash right now and we call it even). They said they would only consider if we were able to bring $90k to the table! I am in nursing school and my husband is an aspiring chef. We obviously cant afford that. In summary, DO NOT use this company for you or your children. You will end up in a terrible loan that is very difficult to pay off.

  • Alison

    I had a pretty large consolidated student loan with Navient, and while I have to say they have never given me any issues with applying my payments or customer service or anything like that, their predatory and very shady practices/lawsuits were really a deal breaker for me. I refuse to let them make anymore money off of me any longer and have since refinanced from a whopping 8.25% variable loan with these loan sharks to a 5.19% fixed loan through Charter One. The whole process was very easy (on Charter One’s end) and exactly what I hoped for. I HIGHLY recommend refinancing with them. They also don’t have really strict income restrictions like some other companies such as SoFi and Earnest. They really pulled through for us and saved us from the absolute hell known as Navient. Do yourself a favor and try to refinance if you can with someone who actually wants you to be successful in paying off your student loans and not just scamming you. Hahaha Navient, you lose. If you weren’t such shady/greedy people you’d still have my business. HA!

  • jake ashpaugh

    Has anyone found a good student loan repayment company?

  • jake ashpaugh

    I called them and they are no help kept telling me to fill out different forms I do send it in and then they say it’s the wrong one. The income base program form I filled out said the address I used for my last year’s taxes was wrong. Well only lived in two different addresses so I know it’s right. So now I need to figure out what to do before they garnish my wages. Can anyone help me with this?

  • navient is the worst

    I HATE NAVIENT and their automated phone is the ABSOLUTE WORST.