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What to expect with AES student loan servicing
Explore repayment options and what to avoid with this federal and private servicer.
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.
What's in this guide?
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:
- Log in to your online account.
- Click Make a Payment.
- Click Specify Loan Payment Amounts.
- Complete the required fields with your minimum repayment plus the additional amount you’d like to pay.
- 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
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.
Frequently asked questions
For more answers to common questions about AES student loan servicing, read on.
I had loans with Student Loan Xpress. Is AES my servicer?
Yes, AES is now your servicer. Student Loan Xpress (SLX) shut down due to legal issues centered around the company giving kickbacks to university personnel for encouraging students to take out their student loans. After the lawsuit, AES bought all SLX student loans and is now handling repayments.
Something similar happened with Chase and Bank of America student loans when they stopped offering them. This means you’ll need to reach out to the AES customer service team if you have any questions about making repayments.
How do I apply for deferment or forbearance with AES?
You can apply for deferment or forbearance by downloading and filling out a form on the AES website. Which form you need depends on what type of deferment or forbearance you’re applying for. You can find your form by visiting the AES website and clicking Forms in the top menu.
How do I change my repayment plan with AES?
You can apply to change your federal loan repayment plan by downloading and filling out a form on the AES website. Like with deferment and forbearance, which form you need depends on the type of repayment plan you’re interested in. You can find the right form by going to the AES website, clicking Forms in the top menu and selecting Payment Related Forms.
What happens if my repayment is due on a weekend or holiday?
AES requests that you make your repayment on the business day before it’s due or earlier. If you’re signed up for direct debit, your repayment will automatically go through on the business day before it’s due. Repayments typically show up on your bank statement within two days of being processed.
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