What to expect with Aspire student loan servicing

Choose from 4 repayment options with this Iowa-based company.

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Aspire is a nonprofit company that handles repayments on federal and private student loans. It’s a little old school — you have to fax or mail in a form to sign up for autopay. But it’s one of the few servicers that allows you to pay with a debit card as long as your bank participates in an ATM bill pay service.

How repayments work with Aspire

Aspire offers four different ways to make your loan repayments. Unless you’re paying by check, you might need to have your bank account and routing numbers on hand if it’s your first time using this payment method.

How can I pay off my loan early?

If you want to make an extra repayment, you can use any of the methods listed above. Unless you provide instructions, Aspire will usually apply extra repayments to loans in the following order:

  1. Late fees
  2. Unpaid interest
  3. Principal

The one exception is loans on an income-driven repayment plan. In that case, Aspire applies extra repayments in the following order:

  1. Unpaid interest
  2. Late fees
  3. Principal

However, you’ll save more on interest if you request to have your repayments go toward the principal first. If you’re paying by mail, you can request to do so by filling out a Future Payment Allocation Form and sending it along with your repayment. Or select Specify Loan Payment Amounts to provide instructions if you’re paying online.

Want to pay off your loan in full? You can request a payoff amount by calling 800-243-7552 or logging in to your account. Keep in mind that your loan balance isn’t the same as the payoff amount because it doesn’t take into account the interest that adds up while you’re preparing to make the repayment.

How to contact Aspire customer service

There are several different ways to contact Aspire’s customer service team, from making a phone call to visiting its office in person.

How to refinance Aspire student loans

You can refinance your Aspire student loans by taking out another loan with a private lender to pay off your current balance. Refinancing can potentially get you more competitive rates and terms — especially if you have strong credit and a low debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.

It’s also the only way you can change up your servicer if you have private student loans. But federal student loan holders who rely on benefits like income-driven repayment plans and forgiveness programs might want to consider a federal Direct Consolidation Loan instead. This allows you to keep your loans federal while switching servicers.

Must read: What student loan providers does Aspire service?

Aside from servicing federal student loans, Aspire also handles repayments for the private lender Iowa Student Loan.

Compare student loan refinancing options

Updated December 8th, 2019
Name Product Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR
680
$250,000
3.49% to 6.99%
Enjoy no fees, low rates and flexible terms — but only for borrowers with good credit.
660
None
Starting at 1.99%
Save on your student loans with this market-leading newcomer.
Good to excellent credit
None
Starting at 2.21%
Get prequalified offers from top student loan refinancing providers in one place.
680
None
2.39% to 6.01%
Lower your student debt costs with manageable payments, affordable rates and flexible terms.
650
None
1.81% to 6.89%
Get a tailored interest rate and repayment plan with no hidden fees.
650
Full balance of your qualified education loans
1.81% to 7.36%
A leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi can help you refinance your loans and pay them off sooner.
620
$300,000
2.27% to 7.49%
Refinance all types of student loans — including federal and parent PLUS loans.

Compare up to 4 providers

How to avoid common problems with Aspire

Like most small student loan servicers, Aspire has a limited online presence. But we found some customers who weren’t happy with their experience. As of February 2019, 12 customers filed complaints against its parent company Iowa Student Loan with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). It’s closed 12 complaints with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) over the past three years and doesn’t have a Trustpilot page.

Here are the two biggest issues borrowers have had with this servicer:

Mishandled repayments

Several customers complained that Aspire misapplied repayments, affecting their credit scores. One borrower had trouble updating auto debit when they switched bank accounts. Another said the company failed to process repayments.

  • How to avoid it: Contact customer service before you make any changes to your account that could affect repayments. And make a regular habit of checking your Aspire account to make sure repayments are going through. Reach out as soon as you notice anything off or have any questions.

Repeated phone calls

Some customers had issues with Aspire repeatedly calling them or their workplace when they were late on repayments, sometimes from a blocked number. One claimed Aspire called them if their repayments were more than five days late and tried to get them to pay over the phone. Another even said Aspire wouldn’t stop calling their former employers and wouldn’t update their address.

  • How to avoid it: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends downloading a call-blocking app on your mobile device, which sends calls from unknown or suspicious numbers straight to voicemail. And read up on your rights with our guide to debt collection laws. File a complaint with the FTC if you think Aspire is making any violations.

What to expect with other student loan servicers

Bottom line

Aspire student loan servicing is more low tech than the competition, which can slow down the process of making changes to your repayment plan. But it only has a handful of online complaints, which could indicate that most of its customers are relatively happy.

If you’d like something more grounded in the age of the Internet, consider refinancing or consolidating your student loans to work with another servicer. Find out how Aspire stacks up to other companies out there with our guide to student loan servicers.

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