What to expect with AES student loan servicing | finder.com

What to expect with AES student loan servicing

Explore repayment options and what to avoid with this federal and private servicer.

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American Education Services (AES) is a student loan servicer created by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). It handles federal and private student loan repayments and also guarantees some federal student loans. If your loan was just switched to AES, you might want to keep an eye on your account — some borrowers report getting charged higher interest rates.

How repayments work with AES

AES has several different repayment options when it comes to student loans. If it’s your first time making a repayment, make sure you have your bank account and routing number handy — unless you’re paying with a check.

Can I pay off my loans early?

Yes, you have two options for paying off your loans early with AES. You can add more to your minimum monthly repayment, which puts your account in paid ahead status. This means you’ll pay off your student loans faster, but you likely won’t save as much on interest as you would have by making targeted payments.

That’s because targeted payments allow you to choose which loans you’d like to pay off first and whether you want repayments to go toward both interest and principal.

Follow these steps to make a targeted repayment with AES online:

  1. Log in to your online account.
  2. Click Make a Payment.
  3. Click Specify Loan Payment Amounts.
  4. Complete the required fields with your minimum repayment plus the additional amount you’d like to pay.
  5. Click Make a Payment.

How to contact customer service

You can reach AES’s customer service team by phone, online, mail or even fax. Like with most servicers, it has different departments to handle different types of correspondence — especially mail.

How to refinance your AES student loans

You can refinance your AES student loans by applying for a new loan with a private lender, which you use to pay off your current student debt. It’s a way to get more competitive rates and terms for private student loans and also allows you to switch up servicers if you’re unhappy with AES.

Got federal loans? You might want to think twice about refinancing. Private lenders don’t offer benefits like income-driven repayment plans and multiple deferment options. Instead, you might want to consider consolidating your loans with a federal Direct Consolidation Loan, which allows you to switch up your servicer while keeping the perks that come with federal funding.

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How to avoid common problems with AES

AES is a large servicer, and it’s had its share of issues. As of February 2019, nearly 8,000 borrowers filed complaints against the company with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Since it’s part of PHEAA, a government agency, it has no Better Business Bureau rating. It also has no page on Trustpilot. But customers on forums like Reddit have detailed their two main problems with the student loan servicer.

Increased interest rates when switching to AES

AES has absorbed student loans from several different private lenders, including Chase and Bank of America — in addition to borrowers who consolidated federal loans and switched servicers. Multiple people reported that interest rates on their federal loans increased after they made the change.

  • How to avoid it: If you’re consolidating your loans, read your documents carefully before you sign. Reach out if you notice any mention of a rate increase. Otherwise, check your new account carefully and contact customer service if you believe you’re being charged a higher rate than you should. Or file a complaint with the PHEAA Office of Consumer Advocacy.

Mishandling extra repayments

Several borrowers reported AES didn’t properly apply additional repayments — or didn’t properly explain how they worked. Some said their loans were put in paid ahead status when they’d intended to pay off interest on a specific loan. Others said repayments were unevenly distributed.

  • How to avoid it: Consider calling AES before you make a targeted repayment to make sure you’re taking the right steps. Check your account after AES applies the additional funds and reach out again if you notice anything wrong.

How to file a complaint with PHEAA Office of Consumer Advocacy

In addition to being able to file a complaint with the CFPB, AES borrowers can complain to the PHEAA Office of Consumer Advocacy. Since the Office of Consumer Advocacy is specifically for PHEAA and its offshoots like AES and FedLoan Servicing, you might be able to get a quicker response than with other organizations.

You can file a complaint by calling 800-213-9827 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.

Or send a letter to the following address:

Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency
The Office of Consumer Advocacy
1200 North 7th Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102

What to expect with other student loan servicers

Bottom line

AES is one of the more user-friendly servicers out there, providing lots of clear information about how repayments work on its website. And because it’s part of a government agency, it has its own Office of Consumer Advocacy, which could potentially make it easier to see results when you file a complaint.

Check out our article on student loan servicers to learn more about how repayment works. Or read our guide to student loans to find out more about the borrowing process.

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