You can tell if your Navient loan is private or federal by comparing the student loans listed on your Navient account with the loans listed on studentaid.gov. Any loan listed on both websites is a federal student loan. Any loan listed with Navient but not on studentaid.gov is usually a private student loan.
Another way to tell if your Navient loan is private or federal is to call Navient and ask the representative if you have any private student loans. The representative should be able to tell you which loans are federal or private.
The rep may say you have "commercial student loans".
Logically, you'd think that loan is a private student loan.
But if you went to school before 2010, that commercial student loan may actually be a federal student loan made under the Federal Family Education Loan Program.
FFELP loans are loans that were made by a private lender (commercial lender) but were insured by a guaranty agency and the U.S. Department of Education.
FFEL loans are not eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. (You can, however, make them eligible for PSLF by including them in a Direct Loan Consolidation Application.)
Click here to learn How to Get FFELP Loan Forgiveness
And, unless the Department of Education owns the FFEL loan, the loan likely won't be included in any loan forgiveness offered by President Biden's administration.
Other ways to identify a private student loan
In case you don't have access to studentaid.gov (maybe you're pending Social Security administration approval or your Federal Student Aid ID is locked out) here are some other ways to identify that your loans are private:
- You have a cosigner.
- You're eligible for an interest rate reduction program.
- Your credit report says the loan was charged-off.
- Your loan was made under the Tuition Answer, Signature Student, NaviRefi, etc. loan programs.
- You aren't able to get a monthly payment based on your income (private student loans aren't eligible for IDR plans - IBR, PAYE, REPAYE, ICR).
In contrast, your Navient loans are owned by the federal government if you see that they are:
- Parent Plus Loans
- Perkins Loans
- Federal Direct Loans
- Federal Family Education Loans
Also, if Navient says that your loan is in forbearance due to coronavirus pandemic, chances are it's a federal student loan.
Finally, if your loan used to be with Sallie Mae but was later sent to Navient for servicing, then the loan is likely a federal student loan.
Click here to learn more about Eligibility for Sallie Mae Loan Forgiveness Programs
Navient is a loan servicer
Before I end this article, let me explain who Navient is.
Navient acts as a student loan servicer for over $300 billion in federal and private student loans combined.
A loan servicer is a company responsible for:
- enrolling student loan borrowers in repayment plans
- reviewing student loan repayment options with borrowers (e.g. income-driven repayment (IDR))
- applying forbearance and deferment
- collecting monthly student loan payments
- processing Direct Consolidation Loan applications
- reviewing student loan forgiveness/cancellation programs.
Click here to learn How to Lower my Navient Student Loan Payment
Typically, a student loan servicer does not own the student loan debt it services.
But, Navient is a little bit different.
They sometimes do own the student loan debt they're servicing. And because they do own some of the loans they're servicing, you may be able to negotiate a settlement.
To get a settlement, you'll have to first default. There's no way to get a Navient private loan settlement without defaulting. That's true for both private and federal loans.