Aidvantage is the fictitious name of the registered company Maximus Education LLC.
It was recently announced Aidvantage would take over the servicing and maintenance of federal student loan accounts currently managed by Navient.
Navient currently says, “This winter, Aidvantage will begin servicing your student loans owned by the Department of Education (ED) instead of Navient.” – Source
Navient also says, “Aidvantage has one mission – to help you manage the repayment of your federal student loan and support your financial success.”
However, I wish the official mission was “Aidvantage has one mission – to maximize revenue without screwing up things too badly.”
You know Navient, the company that said in 2017 court documents they were not contracted to provide sound advice to student loan holders.
“In court documents, Navient states they are not paid to provide best advice when it comes to dealing with student loans. They say they are not paid to “spend time providing individualized financial advice to borrowers unable to pay their debts.”
Navient then goes on to say they specifically do not provide people with good advice because “Borrowers could not reasonably rely on Navient to counsel them into alternative payment plans unless Navient had an affirmative duty to provide such individualized financial counseling. But the law imposes no general duty to provide information without some fiduciary relationship.”
Role of Aidvantage
There is no reason to understand at this time that Aidvantage and Maximus Education will not absorb the same approach to managing student loan debtor accounts unless management at the new entity adopts a different direction or operates under a separate contract with the Department of Education.
Navient blamed their lack of good advice on the servicing contract. They said Navient’s relationship with borrowers is that of an arm’s-length loan servicer, not a fiduciary counselor. A servicer’s role is to collect payments owed by borrowers. In that role, the servicer acts in the lender’s interest (here that lender is often the federal government itself), and there is no expectation that the servicer will “act in the interest of the consumer.” Courts therefore routinely hold that servicers and lenders “do not owe borrowers any specific fiduciary duties based upon their servicer/borrower relationship.”
Will the Aidvantage Mission Be Different?
The Navient site says the accounts to be managed by Aidvantage will be assigned to Maximus Education and describes the role of the loan servicer. They go on to say, “A loan servicer handles details on behalf of the loan owner, in this case, the Department of Education, such as collecting and processing payments and answering questions.”
Notice that it does not say anything about providing consumer-focused advice or guidance. This is what leads me to me cynical that much will change for the better for student-loan debtors.
What to Do When Aidvantage Screws Up Your Account
Inevitably accounts are going to get screwed up to one degree or another during a transfer. That’s just going to happen even though intelligent people are working hard for that not to happen.
But I advise anyone impacted by this transfer that runs into issues to follow this process:
- You will be frustrated and agitated but don’t take that out on the Aidvantage representative that answers the phone. They are doing a job as you do, and for the most part, it is not the representative’s fault for a bad company policy or flawed computer system.
- Keep copious notes on every telephone communication you have with Aidvantage. Make sure you track the date, time, and name of the representative you speak with. You could record this all in an email and send it to yourself.
- Make sure to archive every email you receive from Aidvantage regarding your account.
- When an account issue arises, you will need all the information you received or recorded to put together a factual, not emotional, argument about the issue you are dealing with.
- If Aidvantage refuses to deal with the issue, keep escalating your concerns, and it can be prudent to send that information by some traceable means so you can confirm they received it. The mailing address at the time of the company registration and this posting is 1891 Metro Center Drive, Reston, VA 23219.
- If you are still not getting a reasonable response from Aidvantage I would escalate your concerns to your State Attorney General by filing a complaint.
If You Need Advice on Handling Aidvantage Issues
If you need to consult with a professional regarding Aidvantage or Navient issues I would suggest you talk to my debt coach friend Damon Day or a student loan attorney licensed to practice law in your state.
Do not let any issue or concern linger. Mistakes in properly servicing student loan accounts impact all debtors regardless of who the servicer is.