American Education Services is a student loan servicer to millions of federal and private student loan borrowers. If you have AES student loans, you might have questions about this company and how it can help you throughout the student loan repayment process. Here’s what you should know if you have student loans with AES.
What is American Education Service?
AES is a student loan servicer and guaranty agency created by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) to oversee FFEL Loans and private student loans. In its role as a servicer, AES doesn’t provide student loans to borrowers. Instead, it acts as a middleman between the loan holder and the borrower while the account is in good standing. As a guarantor, AES agrees to pay a debt when the borrower defaults on a federal student loan.
Are AES and FedLoan the same? AES and FedLoan Servicing are two different companies that are owned by PHEAA. AES services FFEL Loans and private student loans. FedLoan manages loans held by the Department of Education and administers the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
Are AES student loans federal or private?
AES services federal student loans made under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL) and private student loans for various entities, including:
Coronado Student Loan Trust
National Collegiate Student Loan Trust (NCT)
Loans made under the FFEL Program were often made by private lenders like SunTrust Bank or PNC Bank. Although the loans were made by banks and not the Department of Education, those loans are federal student loans.
If you’re wondering whether your AES student loans are federal or private, the best way to find out is to check your account with the Federal Student Aid website, studentaid.gov. Once logged in, you’ll be able to see every federal student loan you borrowed. Compare that list against your loans with AES. Any student loan listed on AES but not studentaid.gov is a private student loan.
AES Federal Student Loan Abbreviations
STFFRD: Subsidized Stafford
UNSTSD: Unsubsidized Stafford
SUBCNS: Subsidized Consolidation
UNCNS: Unsubsidized Consolidation
CUBSPC: Subsidized Spousal Consolidation
UNSTC: Unsubsidized Spousal Consolidation
STCNFL: Regular Spousal Consolidation
SLS: Supplemental Loan for Students
GSL: Guaranteed Student Loan
What American Education Services can help you do:
In addition to maintaining your online account where you can request tax forms, loan balance payoff letters, and billing and interest statements, AES can help you explore repayment options, including:
Lowering monthly payments on federal student loans by placing you in an income-driven repayment plan (IBR or ICR) and on private student loans by offering you a temporary interest rate reduction.
Qualifying for student loan forgiveness under various programs provided by the federal government, including Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Teacher Loan Forgiveness, and student loan discharge due to total and permanent disability and death.
Removing a co-signer after making consecutive qualifying student loan payments and the primary borrower demonstrating they have a good credit score and income.
Temporarily pausing payments with deferments and forbearances.
What American Education Services cannot help you do:
Consolidate student loans. The consolidation process turns FFEL and Perkins Loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan owned by the Department of Education. You can consolidate your loans for free at studentaid.gov.
Negotiate student loan settlements. Unfortunately, AES won’t waive any of the interest that’s been added to your account or agree to settle your student loan debt for the original loan amount or less if you pay the loan balance in full today. You have to default on student loans before you can negotiate a settlement. When you default, your account will be moved from AES to a collection agency. At that point, you should be able to negotiate a settlement.
Refinance loans for a lower interest rate. If you have a good income and a blemish-free credit report,student loan refinancing may allow you to get a new loan with a more extended repayment period, better loan terms, and a lower interest rate. Plus, some private lenders are allowing you to refinance and maintain many of the federal benefits you would lose if you refinance federal student loans.
AES Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
Do AES loans qualify for loan forgiveness? The federal student loans serviced by AES may be eligible for the following student loan forgiveness programs:
Closed School Discharge: wipes out the balances for student loan borrowers who attended a school that closed while they were in attendance or shortly after they left.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness: forgives the balance owed on Direct Loans if you work full-time for a government or nonprofit entity and make 120 qualifying payments. If you have federal loans with AES, you will likely need to apply for student loan consolidation to qualify for PSLF. For a limited time, the U.S. Department of Education is giving borrowers credit for payments made before the consolidation.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness: allows teachers working in Title I schools to eliminate up to $18,500 of federal student loan debt after 5 years.
Total and Permanent Disability: cancels your entire student loan debt if a medical doctor, or the SSA, VA determine that medical issues prevent you from working.
Can AES student loans be forgiven? The private student loans AES services are not eligible for loan forgiveness. But the federal student loans it servicers can be forgiven under different programs offered by the Department of Education.
Are my loans stuck with AES?
The Department of Education sometimes moves loans from one servicer to another based on performance and contracts. The department is overhauling its servicing platform, following announcements from FedLoan and Navient that the companies were calling it quits on federal student loan servicing. The departures will cause more than 15 million borrowers to move to new servicers — a process that hasn’t in the past always gone smoothly.
Here are two things you can do to minimize errors with your account:
Download your payment history from your online account or ask your servicer to mail you a copy.
Update your contact information with your most recent address, phone number, and email address.
You’ll be notified before your loans are moved to or from AES. Despite the changes, your student loan repayment options and forgiveness will remain the same with the new servicer. But the quality of customer service may be different.
If you’re dissatisfied with AESs performance, you can move your loans to a new servicer by consolidating at studentaid.gov.
It’s unlikely that the federal student loans AES services will be forgiven by the president. President Joe Biden campaigned on a platform partly based on loan forgiveness. Since taking office, the Biden administration has announced loan forgiveness for several student loan borrowers under existing programs. He has yet to use his executive authority to cancel $10 thousand in student loan debt.
With each day that passes, it appears less likely he will use that power. But even if he does, AES student loans wouldn’t be forgiven because they are not owned by the U.S. Department of Education. The loans AES services are either federal student loans owned by a guaranty agency or are private student loans owned by someone other than the federal government.
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How to make payments to AES
Borrowers can access their accounts at AESSuccess.org and make payments online. They can also pay through the mobile app, by phone at 800-233-0557, or by mailing a check or money order payable to American Education Services to:
American Education Services
P.O. Box 65093
Baltimore, MD 21264-5093
Making payments to AES with direct debit and autopay is the easiest and most reliable method to make your payments by the due date. Direct debit creates an automatic withdrawal from your bank account on a specified date each month.
AES’s parent company, PHEAA, has been subject to multiple lawsuits by states for allegedly mismanaging the PSLF program. For instance, in 2019, the New York attorney general sued the company, alleging it failed to properly inform applicants of the PSLF program’s requirements, resulting in a nearly 99% denial rate. PHEAA settled a lawsuit with Massachusetts’ attorney general earlier this year, which raised much of the same allegations.
Recently, FedLoan Servicing announced it would not renew its contract with the Department of Education. AES has not made a similar announcement.
About American Education Services
AES is a student loan servicer for FFEL Loans, which includes Stafford Loans, Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, Federal PLUS Loans, and Federal Consolidation Loans. The FFEL program was discontinued in June 2010 under the Obama administration. However, millions of borrowers have outstanding balances on those loans.
AES is not a government agency. But its parent company, Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, is a quasi-nongovernmental organization. The state of Pennsylvania initially established PHEAA as a state agency. But the company is now run privately and with limited legislative oversight.