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What to expect with Aspire student loan servicing

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

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.

Sign up for auto-debit

With auto-debit, Aspire automatically withdraws repayments from your bank account each month. If you have federal loans, you may qualify for a discount.

To sign up for auto-debit, you first need to download and complete an application form, which you can find on Aspire’s website. Go to the homepage, click Ways to Pay in the left-hand menu and click Auto-Debit Payment Authorization Form to download the PDF.

After you complete the form, print it out and send it to Aspire by fax or mail.

Make an online repayment

You can make one-time repayments by logging in to your online account. If it’s your first time, you need to provide the following information:

  • Social Security number
  • Birthdate
  • Bank account number
  • Bank routing number
Send a repayment by mail

You can mail a check or money order to the following address:

Aspire Servicing Center
PO Box 659701
West Des Moines, IA 50265-0970

Write your account number directly on the check or money order so Aspire knows where to apply the repayment. Include the detachable slip at the bottom of your paper statement with your payment and send it in at least five to seven business days before it’s due.

Make a mistake? You can click Cancel to start over again.

Pay over the phone

You can make repayments over the phone by calling one of the following numbers at any time:

  • Toll-free number: 800-243-7552
  • Local Des Moines number: 515-243-5626

If you want to make repayments with a debit card, paying over the phone is your only option. However, your card must:

  • Have a PULSE, STAR or NYCE logo.
  • Be from a bank participating in an ATM bill pay service.

Otherwise, you can pay using your checking or savings account.

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.

Over the phone
  • Toll-free customer service number: 800-243-7552
  • Local customer service number: 515-243-5626

Aspire’s customer service team is available during the following hours:

  • Monday to Thursday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT
  • Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT
  • Weekends: Closed
Send an email

Aspire won’t answer questions about anything specific to your account, but you can send general inquiries or tech support questions by filling out an online form. For your security, it asks that you don’t include any personal information.

Follow these steps to send an email:

  1. Go to the Aspire website.
  2. Click Contact us at the top of the page.
  3. Scroll down and click either Send a general email or Request assistance, depending on the type of question you have.
  4. Complete the required fields and click Submit.
Stop by in person

In the area? You can stop by Aspire’s West Des Moines office to speak with someone in person.

Aspire office address
6775 Vista Drive
West Des Moines, IA 50266-9305

Aspire office hours

  • Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Weekends: Closed
Send a fax

Fax documents and other correspondence to Aspire at the following number: 515-471-3983.

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

Explore your options by APR, minimum credit score, loan amount and loan term. Select the Get started button to start an application with a specific lender.

Name Product APR Min. Credit Score Loan amount Loan Term
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing (Variable Rate)
1.88% to 5.54%
650
$5,000 - $300,000
5 to 20 years
Refinance all types of student loans — including federal and parent PLUS loans.
Credible Student Loan Refinancing
1.80% to 8.90%
Good to excellent credit
Starting at $5,000
5 to 20 years
Get prequalified offers from top student loan refinancing providers in one place.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (with Autopay)
2.25% to 6.59%
650
Starting at $5,000
5 to 20 years
A leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi can help you refinance your loans and pay them off sooner.
Splash Financial Student Loan Refinancing
1.89% to 6.66%
650
Starting at $7,500
5 to 25 years
Save on your student loans with this market-leading newcomer.
Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinancing
2.39% to 6.01%
680
Starting at $15,000
5 to 20 years
Lower your student debt costs with manageable payments, affordable rates and flexible terms.
Earnest Student Loan Refinancing
1.88% to 5.64% APR with autopay
650
$5,000 - $500,000
5 to 20 years
Get a tailored interest rate and repayment plan with no hidden fees.
Supermoney student loan refinancing
Starting at 1.9%
No minimum credit score
$5,000 - $300,000
5 to 20 years
Compare options to combine both private and federal debts into one monthly payment.
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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

Choose a loan provider from the list below for more information on its services.

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.

Frequently asked questions

How do I apply for deferment or forbearance with Aspire?

It depends on what type of student loan you have. Federal student loan holders can apply for deferment or forbearance by filling out and submitting a form to Aspire. Which form you need to complete depends on the type of deferment or forbearance you think you’ll need. You can download the forms from the left-hand menu on the Aspire homepage.

Private student loan holders can learn about their options and how to apply by calling customer service.

How do I change my repayment plan with Aspire?

It depends on what type of student loan you have. Federal student loan holders can apply to change repayment plans by submitting a form to Aspire, depending on what type of repayment plan you’re interested in. You can find the forms on the left-hand menu on Aspire’s homepage.

Private student loan holders might want to reach out to customer service to learn what options are available to them. If you don’t have any options, you can refinance with another company to adjust your monthly repayments.

What happens if my auto-debit payment is denied?

If three auto-debit repayments bounce within two years, Aspire deactivates autopay. You’ll need to make repayments using another method until you become current on your loans again.

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