Navient has consistently been ranked as one of the worst loan servicers in the United States. Even so, if you have a Navient student loan, you can still qualify for a Navient student loan forgiveness.
It’s not a surprise that Navient is one of the companies with the most student loan complaints in 2020. And that’s because of the numerous lawsuits they’ve had in previous years.
Now, this guide will give you complete details of the Navient student loan forgiveness. Hopefully, by the end of this guide, you’ll find potential ways to get rid of your student debt and live your financial life freely.
It’s important to know that no Navient student loan forgiveness programs particularly exist. However, as a Navient borrower, you have several general student loan forgiveness programs you can qualify for.
It may not be a smooth ride, but we’ll make the journey less burdensome. Let’s begin.
Who Is Navient And What Do They Do?
Navient is one of the United States’ oldest student loan servicers, with millions of customers. The company initially launched as a Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) in 1973 and was called the Student Loan Marketing Association.
But the company later changed its name to Sallie Mae. However, in 2004, Sallie Mae became independent from the GSE charter and became a private organization.
In 2009, the U.S. Education Department selected Sallie Mae as its primary federal student loan servicer. After that, however, Sallie Mae separated again into two organizations: Navient and Sallie Mae.
Sallie Mae focused more on consumer banking and private lending, while Navient focused on high education loans.
Currently, Navient oversees more than 12 million student loan borrowers, including $300 billion in student loans.
What Is The Navient Lawsuit?
In January 2017, The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), including the Washington and Illinois attorneys, sued Navient.
The attorney general in Pennsylvania filed a Navient lawsuit in October 2017. And the Mississippi and California attorneys general did the same in June and July 2018, respectively.
In CFPB’s Navient lawsuit, the company claims that at least since January 2010, Navient has:
- Misallocated payments,
- Directed borrowers who were financially struggling toward several forbearances instead of income-driven repayment plans, and
- They provided incomplete information about enlisting in income-driven repayment plans and how borrowers can be eligible for a co-signer release.
The CFPB asked Navient to compensate the loan borrowers the company claims were harmed. According to Navient, the claims were “unfounded.” Aside from that, the lawsuits were based on new servicing requirements applied retroactively, based on a fact sheet in October 2017.
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New Practices Navient Are Putting In Place
According to Navient, it will improve its call center practices to serve federal loan borrowers better. These borrowers are those who potentially qualify for relief under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. And Navient will specifically help them by providing information to them.
These new measures are part of the 2020 settlement with the American Federation of Teachers. The AFT alleged that Navient’s actions caused public service workers to lose out on loan forgiveness or miss the right payment plan for them.
Also, the settlement includes a contribution of $1.75 million to a non-profit organization. This organization will provide student loan and education counseling to public service workers.
According to the new agreement, Navient will train its customer support to identify phrases and words that show a borrower might qualify for PSLF or other loan repayment plans.
It’s expected that Navient will report on its compliance with these new practices. However, it’s not clear as to who exactly.
Now, let’s talk more about the Navient student loan forgiveness.
Navient Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
If you have student loan debts, you’re probably interested in how to get out of debt or reduce your monthly payment. This section will provide you with information regarding Navient student loan forgiveness and possible ways to get out of debt.
What Type Of Navient Student Loans Do You Have?
Please note: The Navient student loan forgiveness programs are entirely different from Sallie Mae’s loan forgiveness. They have different co-signer options, student loan programs, credit score requirements, repayment options, and educational loans.
Sallie Mae is solely a private student loan lender. However, Navient is both a private and a federal student loan servicer. Because of that, you have to separate your federal loans from your private loans, if you have any.
It makes a massive difference because there are different student loan forgiveness programs for each type of loan.
If you don’t remember the type of student loans you took out, contact Navient and get an answer from them directly. Another way is to check the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) by carrying out a “Financial Review.”
Federal Student Loans Are Preferable
It’s ideal to have federal student loans because that makes you qualify for federal student loan forgiveness programs, assuming you’ve been making your payments every month.
However, the private loans are dependent on the rules of the agency that offered the direct loan. Private student loans can be eligible via the state, or in some cases, job-specific loan forgiveness programs if you’ve been making regular monthly payments.
In addition, find out if Navient is your student loan lender. You can sign-in on the federal student aid site with your FSA ID and check your current ED servicer. It’ll probably be Navient. However, it could also be Nelnet, FedLoan Servicing, or the Great Lakes Higher Education.
Navient Student Loan Forgiveness For Federal Loans
If you have federal Navient student loans, you have four forgiveness alternatives to choose from. Let’s go through them.
1. Income-Driven Repayment Plans
Currently, the U.S. Department of Education offers four income-driven repayment plans for its loans:
- IBR plan,
- ICR plan,
- PAYE plan, and
- REPAYE plan.
When you take advantage of any of these plans, you can lower the amount of your monthly payment. Plus, you may qualify to get Navient student loan forgiveness when you get close to your repayment plan.
The typical time for you to qualify for loan forgiveness is about 20 to 25 years, depending on your select plan. However, should you choose to go with an income-driven repayment plan, you’ll have to pay the income tax on your forgiven amount (after interest rate).
So it’s advisable to save towards paying off that income tax.
2. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
The PSLF depends on whether you work full-time for a non-profit organization or the government. If you do, then the PSLF program is the best choice to take. That’s because you can get tax-free loan forgiveness after making a minimum of 120 qualifying payments or ten years.
Keep in mind that the U.S. Education Department has chosen FedLoan Servicing as the exclusive loan servicer of the PSLF. Unfortunately, that means you can only be eligible for this program if FedLoan is your loan servicer.
But that shouldn’t be a headache for you. You can still apply for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness on the StudentAid.gov website. If you get accepted, Navient will transfer your student loans to FedLoan Servicing automatically.
According to the Department of Education, you’ll be notified if you get accepted to the forgiveness program. However, if it’s taking too long, you can always contact FedLoan Servicing for any updates.
3. Navient Student Loan Forgiveness Via TPD Discharge
The Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge is technically not a “loan forgiveness” option. However, you should note that there are numerous ways that federal loan borrowers can qualify to have their loans discharged. And one of them is the TPD discharge.
The TPD discharge is available to student loan borrowers who can’t make any monthly loan payments due to a life-changing permanent disability. The disability can be mental, physical, or both, and a registered doctor has to verify the disability.
Another way to get approved is through the Social Security Administration or Veterans Affairs. If approved, the entire student loan balance will be discharged. If you’ve already made some payments, the remaining balance will be forgiven.
4. Teacher Loan Forgiveness
Teachers may qualify for a maximum of $17,500 of loan forgiveness through the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. However, there are strict restrictions regarding the teacher qualifications for the forgiveness program.
The most relevant criteria include:
- You’ll need to be considered a highly qualified teacher
- You’ll need to teach for at least five consecutive academic years in a low-income secondary school, elementary school, or educational service organization.
Keep in mind: The Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness don’t go well together. If you get the option to choose the PSLF program, go for it. It’s better than the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program.
5. Other Possible Options For Navient Student Loan Forgiveness
If you don’t qualify for the above forgiveness options, you can check the following loan discharge alternatives:
- Closed School Loan Discharge Program. If you graduated from a school that recently shut down or closed down while you were enrolled, you could opt for this program. You have to fill out an application and send it to your loan servicer. Remember that you don’t qualify for the program if your school shuts 120 days after you graduated.
- Unpaid Refund Discharge Program. You can choose this program only if you dropped out or withdrew from your college because of valid reasons after you received your loan. If you qualify for a refund and your reasons are tangible, the school may pay back the amount you paid them.
- False Certification Discharge Program. You can qualify for this discharge if you’ve been falsely approved for federal aid by your college. Plus, it only applies if you have FFEL loans, Federal Direct, or Parent Plus. You can receive reimbursement for the amount you’ve already paid.
If you think you’re eligible for any of these loan discharges, we advise that you seek an expert’s opinion first before you proceed.
Navient Student Loan Forgiveness For Private Student Loans
If you have Navient private loans, you don’t directly qualify for Navient student loan forgiveness programs. However, you can opt for other private student loan forgiveness options. Below, you’ll find some ways to get private student loan forgiveness:
- Bankruptcy. Your student loans don’t get automatically discharged if you get bankrupt. However, you can be forgiven if you can prove that your loan repayment will cause undue hardship. You’ll have to file an action against your loan servicer. And even though the chances are small, a significant loan amount might do the trick.
- Death or Disability Discharge. You can get your private student loans forgiven due to permanent disability or death. (The co-signer doesn’t carry the student loan.)
- Missing Paperwork. Sometimes, missing paperwork means that a loan servicer can’t prove that a loan borrower owes any money. For example, national Collegiate Student Loan Trusts have numerous cases due to improper paperwork. In such a case, you won’t be responsible for the student loan if you’re taken to court after you default.
- Fraud or Predatory Practices. If your loan servicer is proven guilty of predatory practices, borrower abuse, or fraud, all their loans are deemed null. That means you get your loans forgiven. Of course, there were regulations made by the Trump administration that made it difficult to find loan relief in these circumstances. But you can still pursue legal solutions.
If you believe your situation is under any of these four categories, you can be optimistic about private student loan forgiveness.
Refinance Your Student Loans, If Possible
You can refinance your student loans if you’re not eligible for student loan forgiveness. When you do that, you can save money on interest and make your monthly payments manageable. Even if you qualify for loan forgiveness, you can still refinance your student loans to get simpler payments.
That said, you should only refinance if you meet the below requirements:
- Suppose you’re not close to any loan forgiveness. If you’re now beginning repayment, refinancing can save you tons of money in the long run. However, if you’ve already invested money and time into some forgiveness, avoid refinancing. For instance, if you’ve been teaching for five years for PSLF, it would not be advisable to refinance your loans.
- You get disqualified for deferment, IDR options, and forbearance when you refinance your student loans. So it’s advisable only to refinance if you’re financially stable or have emergency funds. Also, your credit score should be more than 650, and you need to have a debt-to-income ratio of at least 1.5.
- Refinancing is a good idea if you’ve achieved a successful career and anticipate growth in your income. However, if you don’t have a stable job, it’s advisable to stick to what you have and go for any of the IDR options.
However, we recommend you speak with a student loan advisor before you refinance your student loans.
Should You Apply For Navient Student Loan Forgiveness?
You can’t apply for student loan forgiveness if you recently graduated or have been making monthly payments for a few years. On the other hand, you get most loan forgiveness if you’ve made significant payments.
However, death or disability loan discharge is open whenever it’s liable. It’s ideal for refinancing your student loans if you just started your loan repayments. This can help to lower the interest payments. You can even change your loan servicer in the process.
If you think you qualify for any loan forgiveness, you should apply as quickly as possible.
We, however, recommend that you speak with a professional student loan advisor.