If you are one of those with student loans from AES, you may have concerns about what AES is, and how this organization can actually help you handle your student debt. Here’s what lenders should know about AES student loans.
What is American Education Services (AES)?
American Education Services is a student loan servicer—a company that manages student loan accounts through repayment. It’s also one of just a handful of servicers that contract with the Department of Education to manage student loans issued through federal programs.
AES is owned by the student aid organization Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, also called PHEAA. PHEAA is a major provider of student loan services at the national level. This includes a large federal student loan portfolio.
As of March 2019, PHEAA services $355.5 billion in federal student loans held by more than 8 million borrowers, according to the Office of Federal Student Aid.
PHEAA provides student loan services at a national level through AES and FedLoan Servicing. While AES and FedLoan are sister companies, they are different student loan servicers that operate separately:
- AES manages PHEAA’s portfolio of private student loans and federal student loans through the now-discontinued Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program.
- FedLoan Servicing services student loans that are federally owned, including Direct Student Loans.
About AES Student Loans
AES student loans are the educational debt accounts managed by this loan servicing company. These debts may be either private student loans or federal student loans borrowed through the FFEL Program.
FFEL loans are the only federal student loans managed by AES. Other types of federal student loans allocated to PHEAA are assigned FedLoan Servicing only, not AES.
The FFEL Program ended in 2010, however, and FFEL loans have not been offered for more than 9 years. Even so, many borrowers are still repaying these types of loans, including many which are serviced by AES.
AES also manages private student loans, so some borrowers will have AES servicing loans they took out with a private lender.
What Does American Education Services Do?
- Register for online access to your account. Once you have access you can contact American Education Services, access your monthly billing statements, and pay bills.
- Enroll in autopay. American Education Services can deduct your payments automatically from your bank account. Signing up for autopay will reduce your interest rate by 0.25%.
- Sign up for income-driven repayment. If you qualify, you can request income-based repayment, which limits your student loan payments to a percentage of your income. FFEL borrowers are eligible only for income-based repayment, which caps payment at a higher percentage of your income compared with other income-driven options like Revised Pay As You Earn. (You can apply online on studentaid.gov and then recertify your income each year online as well.)
- Process deferment and forbearance requests. American Education Services can help you temporarily stop making payments or reduce your payment amount if you qualify. This helps you stay in good standing to avoid default. But during any periods of deferment or forbearance, interest can continue to build.
- Process consolidation requests. American Education Services can help you consolidate your FFEL loans into direct loans with the federal government. You’ll get a new servicer when you consolidate. Once you consolidate you can qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness and additional income-driven repayment plans.
- Process monthly payments and extra payments. American Education Services will track and collect your payments. If you want to make additional payments, you can instruct American Education Services (online, by phone, or by mail) to apply extra payments to your current balance. Otherwise, it may apply the additional amount to next month’s payment instead.
AES Essential Duties
In addition to managing and collecting payments from borrowers, AES performs a number of other essential duties including:
- Helping borrowers manage and change payment due dates
- Supporting various federal income-driven repayment plans in addition to the Standard Repayment Plan
- Qualifying borrowers for student loan discharge and forgiveness
- Helping borrowers to understand their options for deferment and forbearance in the event that they cannot afford to make payments
- Making AES Student Loan Payments
How to Get Info About Your AES Student Loans
If it’s been years since you took out your student loans or you’re not sure if AES is, in fact, your servicer, it’s easy to check that. Here are a few ways to verify your AES student loans and get more information about these accounts.
- Log into the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)—This is the database that records all student aid you receive, including federal student loans. You can log in with your FSA ID to view your student loan balances and history, including the servicers assigned to each account.
- Check your credit reports—AES reports loan information to credit reporting agencies, so if you have an AES student loan you should see it listed as such on your reports. You can request a free credit report from all major credit bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com.
In addition to verifying AES student loans independently, you can also reach out to AES for information about these accounts.
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How AES Can Help Borrowers
With AES as your servicer, it will be your go-to for any actions or assistance you may need with these accounts. Here are some of the specific ways AES helps borrowers manage their student loans below:
Billing and Processing Payments
AES accepts student loan payments through direct debit, online transfers, and checks. Before making extra payments, be sure to set instructions in your AES account for how to target payments. This tells AES which student loan you want the additional funds to pay down first.
Help Struggling Borrowers
AES can help borrowers who are finding it hard to keep up with student loan payments. Some options include changing a due date or learning about options to lower or pause payments.
Access Federal Student Loan Benefits
According to its site, AES can help you find, apply for, and use protections and programs offered to federal student loan borrowers:
- Lower or adjust payments with federal repayment plans such as Graduated and Income-Based Repayment
- Postpone payments with deferment or forbearance
- Learn about programs to forgive, cancel, or discharge federal student loans
- Federal student loan consolidation
- Rehabilitate federal student loans in default
How to Reach American Education Services Customer Service
American Education Services Phone number: 1-800-233-0557
American Education Services hours of operation: Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. ET
AES Address for Loan Payments (except Payoffs):
American Education Services (AES)
P.O. Box 65093
Baltimore, MD 21264-5093
American Education Services Address for Payoffs:
AES – Paid in Full
P.O. Box 2251
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2251
American Education Services Address for Loan Consolidation:
AES Loan Consolidation
P.O. Box 8139
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8139
American Education Services Address for General Correspondence:
American Education Services
P.O. Box 2461
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2461
American Education Services website: www.aessuccess.org
American Education Services email: Log in to your AES account
AES social channels: AES Facebook & AES Twitter
How to Complain about American Education Services
If you’re having difficulty with American Education Services that you have been unable to resolve, start by filing a complaint with its Office of Consumer Advocacy:
Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency
The Office of Consumer Advocacy
1200 North 7th Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102
If your issue goes unresolved, you can also make complaints about American Education Services to:
- Your state attorney general’s office.
- Your state consumer protection office.
- Federal Student Aid Feedback System.
- Your congressional representative.
Make sure to keep records of conversations you have, including the day, time, and customer service representative you spoke with. Keep copies of any letters, bills, or emails about your account.
Pros & Cons
American Education Services is one of a limited number of organizations approved by the Department of Education to service federal student loans, which speaks to the quality of the services that it provides.
However, it also has some areas where it could stand to improve.
Some Pros of what AES does well include:
- Vast Resources for Student Borrowers: AES as an organization has an immense reservoir of knowledge about student loans, stemming from their more than 50 years of experience. In addition to the information hosted directly on its website, AES has a number of ancillary websites that offer valuable resources for students and their families, like You Can Deal With It, which outlines post-graduation success and strategies for paying off student loans, and EducationPlanner.org, which helps college students explore career options, find schools, and learn more about student aid opportunities.
- Direct Debit: Students have the opportunity to make their monthly payments via direct debit, which makes it easier to stay on track of payments. Additionally, borrowers who sign up for direct debit may be eligible for an interest rate reduction of .25%.
- Paperless Billing: You can opt for paperless billing to receive their statements by email instead of mail if you wish, cutting down on clutter and helping the environment.
- Mobile App: You can download the AES mobile app (for both Android and iPhone users) to manage your account and make payments.
- Spanish Website: In addition to the English version, Spanish speakers have access to a Spanish version of the site to ensure understanding.
- Multiple Ways to Contact AES: In addition to phone, email, mail, and fax, you can communicate with AES representatives via the company’s social channels and its online live chat options.
Though AES excels in many areas as a servicer, there are some areas where it could stand to improve:
- Dated Website: The AES website is very dated in design and functionality, leaving a bit to be desired.
- Confusing Navigation: Though AES provides a lot of valuable information for student loan borrowers, it can be incredibly frustrating to navigate through the site, making it difficult for borrowers to find the information that they are looking for.
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American Education Services (AES) is a student loan servicer with more than 50 years of experience helping borrowers manage and pay off their student loans.
That being said, there are countless reasons that college graduates whose loans are serviced by AES may decide to refinance or consolidate their loans with another lender.