Navient Student Loan Forgiveness: Federal vs. Private
Many Americans qualify for student loan forgiveness of their federal loans. Student loan forgiveness comes in different forms, but one of the most common type is income-driven repayment (IDR).
Depending on your income, you may qualify for IDR, which results in debt forgiveness at the end of a 20 or 25-year repayment term.
If you work in certain career fields, such as social work or education, you may also qualify for debt forgiveness after 10 years.
These forgiveness programs are all federal, and are therefore only available for federal student loans, including the following:
- Direct Subsidized / Unsubsidized
- Direct Consolidated Loans
- Direct PLUS
- Direct Stafford Subsidized / Unsubsidized
- FFELP Loans (issued before discontinuation in 2010)
You may be able to negotiate lower payments on private student loans, or even qualify for a private loan assistance program that can pay off some or all of your debt. However, Navient student loan forgiveness for private student loans is limited to a few programs.
What to Do if You Have Federal Navient Student Loans
If your Navient student loans are federal, you’re in luck: that means your loans qualify for federal student loan forgiveness programs. Depending on your career, your income, and other factors, you may be eligible for one of the following:
These plans allow you to make smaller monthly payments for a longer term (generally 20-25 years). At the end of this term, if you’ve made all of your payments on time and in full, you can have the remaining balance of your federal student loans discharged. This program is generally for those who need payment relief.
This program, available to certain types of public service employees, offers student loan forgiveness after 10 years of loan payments under an IDR plan. This program is for those who work in the public sector or a non-profit organization.
This type of loan forgiveness is available to borrowers who are unable to make their student loan payments due to total and permanent disability.
This program forgiveness up to $17,500 for qualified teachers working five years with at least one year being at a title 1 school.
To learn more about the different types of federal student loan forgiveness, click here.
How to Apply for Navient Student Loan Forgiveness
Navient makes it easy to apply for repayment plans and other forgiveness options. When you log into your Navient account online, click the link to apply for income-driven repayment, and enter your information. You can also use the government issued forms to apply for each forgiveness program.
- Income-Driven Repayment Plan Application
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness Application
- Disability Discharge Application
- Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application
Remember that since Navient is your loan servicer, it manages your loan repayment process and is there to help you apply for and switch repayment plans. If you have questions regarding repayment plans, Navient is who you want to contact.
What to Do if You Have Private Navient Student Loans
While private Navient student loans aren’t eligible for Navient student loan forgiveness, there are some private student loan forgiveness options. This includes private loan assistance programs, like those offered to health care providers by the National Health Service Corps, as well as refinancing and negotiating lower monthly payments.
Most loan servicers, including Navient, would rather work with you to find a repayment plan that works than see you default on your loan because you’re unable to pay. For tips and resources for paying off your student loans faster, click here.
Are My Navient Loans Federal Or Private?
The answer to this question isn’t straightforward, and the answer could be one, the other, or even both. You could have federal student loans that are serviced by Navient, or you might have private loans that are serviced by Navient. If you have both federal and private student loans, there is a possibility that both are serviced by Navient.
What is a Loan Servicer?
To understand Navient’s role in your student debt repayment, you must understand the role of a loan servicer. Loan servicing is the handling and billing of a loan. The servicer of a loan works with the borrower to establish repayment plans and consolidate or refinance when necessary. Your servicer is the one you contact if you have any questions or concerns about your loan.
Both federal and private student loans are managed by loan servicers:
- If you have federal student loans, your servicer is chosen by the U.S. Department of Education, who is your lender.
- If you have private student loans, your loan servicer is chosen by the private lending institution you choose, who is your lender. Some lending institutions act as their own loan servicers.
- If you borrowed a loan from your college, university, or professional school, the financial aid office chooses the servicer on your loan.
Sallie Mae vs. Navient
Part of the confusion surrounding Navient loans comes from Navient’s relationship to Sallie Mae. While Sallie Mae and Navient originated from the same company (called Sallie Mae), they are two different and independent corporations. This means that Sallie Mae loans aren’t Navient loans, and Navient student loans aren’t Sallie Mae loans.
Sallie Mae Student Loans
Sallie Mae is a financial institution that has provided and serviced loans for over 40 years, originally servicing both federal and private student loans. In 2010, new legislation prohibited the servicing of federal student loans by financial institutions like Sallie Mae.
In 2014, Sallie Mae announced it would separate into two publicly-traded companies in order to work within this new legislation: Sallie Mae and Navient. Navient now manages the servicing of federal student loans, as well as private student loans, while Sallie Mae provides new private student loans as a lender and services private loans.
Today, Navient and Sallie Mae are two of the most common servicers of private student loans, and Navient is also one of the most common servicers of federal student loans.
How to Find Out if Your Loans Are Private or Federal
If you’re not sure whether your Navient loans are private or federal (or both), you’ll need to find out before you can determine whether those loans are eligible for Navient student loan forgiveness. If your Navient loans are federal, they’ll qualify for all of the benefits offered by the U.S. Department of Education. If they’re private, they won’t.
National Student Loan Data System
First, check whether or not your Navient loans are federal by logging into the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and clicking “Financial Review”. You’ll need to enter your FSA ID or create a new one. Once you’re logged into the system, you’ll be able to see a list of all of your federal student loans, including consolidation loans. Any private student loans you may have taken out will not appear on this list.
Contact Your Loan Servicer
Another way to find out whether your student loans are private or federal is by contacting Navient directly. If you’re not sure whether or not Navient is your loan servicer, you can find that information on your latest statement or by checking your credit report.
You can access your Navient loan information directly by logging into your account at Navient.com. To set up an account, you’ll need your social security number or the account number on your loan.
Navient’s site also allows you to enroll in autopay or make manual payments, and check to see if you’re eligible for federal repayment plans. You’ll also find contact information to contact Navient by email or by phone.
What Does the Navient Lawsuit Mean for You?
Major legal controversy and investigation surrounding Navient began in in August of 2015, when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) found significant evidence indicating the company’s violation of consumer protection laws.
As of May 2018, Navient Corp. faces four lawsuits, each alleging harm against student loan borrowers throughout the repayment process. These lawsuits could take years to come to conclusion, but many Navient student loan borrowers are rightly concerned about how the pending legal actions could affect them.
Will My Loans Be Discharged or Forgiven?
While the CFPB is demanding compensation to Navient borrowers who were allegedly harmed, it’s unknown if and when borrowers will receive any such compensation. The Navient lawsuits have yet to result in concrete rulings, and rumors of Navient student loan forgiveness, discharge, or disqualification related to the lawsuits are unproven.
How Can I Protect Myself?
If Navient is your loan servicer, whether private or federal, and you’re concerned about your status as a borrower, there are steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Changing Loan Servicers
If you want to change loan servicers, it is possible, if not always the best option. The only way to do so is by refinancing (private) or consolidating (federal) your loan or loans.
With student loan refinancing or consolidation, you combine your loans into one bigger loan, which may be serviced through a different provider.
If you have private student loans, refinancing can allow you to select a new loan servicer and shop for better rates or repayment options. However, if you choose this option, make sure you’re aware of the potential pros and cons of loan refinancing/consolidation, and decide whether or not it’s the right choice for you. Doing so only to change your servicer may not be a wise choice.
- Voicing Your Concerns
The better option, if you’re concerned about your Navient-serviced student loans, may be to closely monitor your credit report and your student loan repayment process for errors. If you notice something out of place, voice your concern as soon as possible, and ask questions if you’re unsure about what you see.
You can file a student loan complaint by submitting a complaint directly to Navient, or by submitting your complaint to the CFPB or the Department of Education:
- Submit a complaint to Navient
- Submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
- Submit a complaint to the Department of Education
Navient Student Loan Forgiveness
There is no such thing as “Navient student loan forgiveness”, specifically. Instead, your Navient loans may qualify for loan forgiveness with the federal government’s loan forgiveness and repayment programs.
If you have Navient loans and you want to get out of debt faster or reduce your monthly loan payments, you may be able to qualify for a federal loan repayment or forgiveness program.