If you have a student loan, there is a good chance that it may be serviced by Navient.
Navient, which spun off from Sallie Mae, is one of the nation’s largest student loan servicers with more than 12 million customers and who services more than $300 billion of government and private student loans.
As a follow up to “How This New Navient Lawsuit Affects Your Student Loans,” here are some more action steps that you can take to take control of your student loans:
The New Navient Lawsuit: Quick Summary
Last week, members of the American Federation of Teachers, the second largest teachers union in the U.S., filed a lawsuit against Navient. The lawsuit alleges that Navient systematically misdirected borrowers into student loan repayment programs and types of forbearance, which do not qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which enables public servants to have their federal student loans forgiven after meeting certain requirements.
The lawsuit also alleges Navient ignored borrowers’ best interests — in violation of its government contract — to prevent borrowers from moving to FedLoan (the student loan servicer that administers the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program), so that Navient could continue to earn fees.
Navient declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Q&A: Your Next Steps
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In the aftermath of the new Navient lawsuit, here are some popular questions and corresponding answers and action steps:
1. What is the best way to communicate with your student loan servicer to ensure there is no miscommunication?
If you have something important to share with your student loan servicer, there’s only one way: in writing.
Don’t provide instructions over the phone. Don’t expect that changes will just “be updated.”
Seriously, how many times have you called your student loan servicer and been assured that your request was processed only to find out later that it wasn’t?
That’s an expensive gamble.
Don’t take the risk: whether it’s payment instructions or formal requests, written correspondence is the only way to go.
Also, keep track of all your payment records. It sounds like common sense, but when you need to demonstrate 120 payments (which can take 10 years or more), your life will be so much
2. Do I really have to file an Employment Certification Form?
The number one thing you can do to ensure you’re on track for public service loan forgiveness is to complete the Employment Certification Form.
The next question is: how often should I submit the employment certification form for public service loan forgiveness?
You should submit this form:
- when you begin a job in public service
- when you switch employers
It’s important to submit this form annually to keep the U.S. Department of Education aware of your employment to ensure you’re on the right track.
Without this form, you’re not on your way to public service loan forgiveness.
3. Do I need to choose a federal student loan repayment plan?
If your goal is public service loan forgiveness, you must choose an income-driven repayment plan for your federal student loans.
You must make a majority of the required 120 student loan payments while enrolled in a federal repayment plan. Remember that only federal student loans – and not private student loans – are eligible for student loan forgiveness from the federal government.
Also, you will need to certify your income each year – yes, each year – to determine what your payment will be under your chosen student loan repayment plan.
This free student loan calculator can help you determine which federal student loan repayment plan maximizes the dollar amount of your forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
4. My student loan servicer didn’t explain all my options to me and now I’m enrolled in the wrong payment plan.
Yes, your student loan servicer should help you understand and evaluate options for your student loans. However, don’t rely solely on your student loan servicer to provide you with all the facts.
Do your homework, invest the time and get informed.
Also, don’t let your student loan servicer steer you toward a short-term option when you should choose the long-term solution. You are in charge of your student loans, and while your student loan servicer should assist you, only you can determine which option is best for your circumstance.
Whether it’s student loan refinancing, student loan consolidation or student loan forgiveness, make sure you understand all your options