Note that the situation for student loans has changed due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and relief efforts from the government, student loan lenders and others. Check out our Student Loan Hero Coronavirus Information Center for additional news and details.
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AES or American Education Services is top of mind for millions of current and future student loan borrowers. As one of the largest loan servicers in the country, AES isn’t a lender — but it does handle loan repayment for both federal and private education debt.
Here’s our AES review of what you should know about this student loan servicer — specifically:
- American Education Services (AES): the basics
- Making AES student loan payments
- Issues with American Education Services
- American Education Services contact information
AES was initially founded in 1963 by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) to help service loans through the now-defunct Family Federal Education Loan Program (FFELP). It also services private loans lent by nongovernmental financial institutions.
AES — known formally as “American Education Services — Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency” — is one of four primary federal student loan servicers (the other three being Nelnet, Navient and Great Lakes, which is owned by Navient but operates independently).
|The AES/PHEAA federal loan portfolio by loan status|
|Grace period||$5.9 billion|
|Source: Department of Education data as of June 30, 2020|
Note that you don’t get to choose your federal service provider; instead, the government assigns you one. (With that said, you could switch servicers via a direct consolidation loan.)
As a student loan servicer, AES functions much like the others. While it doesn’t grant loans itself, it will handle the monthly billing of your loan payment and field any repayment- or consolidation-related questions and concerns you may have about your loans.
American Education Services offers a variety of ways for borrowers to make student loan payments, including both traditional options (like paying via mail or telephone) and newer ones (paying online or on your mobile phone).
Students with loans serviced by AES can go to their website and sign up for an online account for instant access to their loans and a library of resources.
Through the online portal, borrowers can arrange to make a monthly one-time payment, and even schedule as many eight payments up to 180 days in advance.
You can also take advantage of the direct debit program. This allows borrowers to automatically debit their payment (autopay) from a validated checking account and potentially qualify for an interest rate reduction for doing so.
AES student loan repayment options
Some borrowers work with AES directly by calling customer service to discuss pausing their loan through deferment or forbearance. But there are other repayment options available through American Education Services, including:
- Graduated payment plan, where borrowers make smaller payments at first, with the amount increasing over time as the borrower’s income (hopefully) rises as well.
- Income-sensitive and income-based repayment plans, where the repayment amount is set based on net monthly income.
- 25-year extended plan, which draws the typical 10-year repayment term out to 25 years, decreasing the monthly payments but increasing the total interest cost.
AES also helps borrowers with their private student debt, which it refers to as “alternative loans.” AES may not have as many options available for private loan repayment, but its website suggests calling customer service to discuss any issues in the event of financial difficulty.
AES student loan consolidation
It’s worth noting here that AES also works with borrowers seeking to consolidate or refinance their loans into a lower interest rate.
AES student loan consolidation involves grouping your federal loans into one new governmental loan, streamlining your repayment. On the downside, a direct consolidation loan won’t lower your interest rates.
Although it may be easier to pursue AES student loan consolidation via the Department of Education, you can also look into refinancing your loans with a private lender. An extra benefit to refinance is that you might be able to get a lower interest rate, saving you a bundle of money, though you’ll need to shop around for your best deal and possibly find a cosigner if your credit isn’t strong.
Student loan servicers are often the subject of complaints by borrowers who feel they didn’t get the help they needed. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau student loan ombudsman’s 2019 report, in terms of the volume of complaints against the federal loan servicers, American Education Services came in second to Navient:
|Servicer||Complaints||Borrowers (in millions)||Complaints per 10,000 borrowers|
|Complaints between Sep. 1, 2018, and Aug. 31, 2019.|
Another black mark: In 2017, Massachusetts’ attorney general sued PHEAA for mismanaging the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
American Education Services’ spotty record could be coming home to roost. AES parent PHEAA saw its government contract extended through 2021 but no further (as of October 2020), as the Department of Education ushers in a group of new loan servicers.
For now, note that you can’t change your federal student loan servicer unless you consolidate or otherwise refinance your loans. Your federal loan could, however, be transferred to another provider by the government.
Whether you have questions about your loan repayment options or want to look into AES student loan consolidation, the loan servicer is nothing if not available. You can reach out in the following ways:
Office Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (ET)
Mailing address for general correspondence:
American Education Services
P.O. Box 2461
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2461
Andrew Pentis and Julie Evans contributed to this report.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.89% – 6.66%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.09%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 5.34%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.97% – 8.54%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews! |
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of October 1, 2020.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of September 9, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.49% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.34% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of October 26, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 10/26/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
5 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of 5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.
As of 11/13/2020 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.97% to 8.54% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.95% to 8.77% Fixed APR with AutoPay.