American Education Services Review

A student loan servicer for FFEL loans

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American Education Services

 American Education Services

Our Take

American Education Services (AES) is a federal loan servicer that processes FFEL loans. While the FFEL program was discontinued, AES still handles borrowers in repayments, and it also services some private student loans for other lenders. As a servicer, AES has been the target of some complaints and a lawsuit, but your options are limited if you’re unhappy with your servicer.

  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Key Takeaways
  • AES is a loan servicer for federal FFEL loans and some private student loans
  • AES is owned by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) 
  • AES and PHEAA are not government agencies; they are private companies
  • AES’ parent company PHEAA is part of a class-action lawsuit claiming the PHEAA deliberately worked to extend the length of borrowers’ repayment terms
  • If AES is your servicer, the only way to switch loan servicers is to refinance or consolidate your loans
Company Overview
  • Year Founded 1963
  • Official Website www.aessuccess.org
  • Services Offered Student loan servicing
  • Customer Service By phone: 1-800-233-0557 M-F, 7:30 AM to 9:00 PM (ET)

American Education Services (AES) is a student loan servicer for Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program loans. FFEL loans include Stafford Loans, Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, Federal PLUS Loans, and Federal Consolidation Loans. The FFEL program was discontinued in June 2010, but because its loans are still in repayment, millions of borrowers still have AES as their loan servicer.

What Is American Education Service?

AES is owned by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) and was established to service and guarantee FFEL and some alternative private student loans. A student loan servicer doesn’t provide loans; it’s the middleman between the borrower and the student loan lender during the repayment period. AES also guarantees the loans, meaning it agrees to repay the debt should the borrower default.

The loans that AES services may be either private student loans or federal student loans borrowed through the FFEL program, but they won’t be any type of loan other than FFEL. If your loans were taken out after the FFEL program was discontinued on June 30, 2010, AES will not be your servicer.

If your federal loans were taken out after June 2010, they may still be serviced by AES’s parent company, PHEAA, as FedLoan Servicing.

If you’re unsure if AES is or was your loan servicer, you can sign into your federal student aid Account Dashboard or check your credit report to see if AES is listed.

Is AES a Government Agency?

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency is a quasi-nongovernmental organization. It was established as a Pennsylvania state agency but is now run privately, with limited legislative oversight within its board of directors.

Is AES a Federal Student Loan?

While PHEAA offers private student loans known as PA Forward loans, you won’t find federal or private AES loans. FFEL was a program that permitted private lenders to provide federally guaranteed student loans and allowed the government to mandate specific interest rate levels for those loans. So instead of lending, AES guarantees and services those lenders’ FFEL loans.

What Can American Education Services Help You With?

AES can help you with anything regarding student loan payments.

Access to your account – You can update your account information, get tax forms, and view billing and interest statements.

Repaying your student loans – You can set up autopay, sign up for income-driven repayment, change payment preferences, move your due date, and pay ahead.

Applying for financial hardship programs You can apply for deferment and forbearance, reduced payments, postponing payments, and federal loan consolidation.

Loan forgiveness – You can see if you qualify for loan discharge, teacher loan forgiveness, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, and any benefits for service members.

As your loan servicer, AES is who you go to if you can’t afford your payments, need to switch payment plans, or have questions about your account

How to Make American Education Services Payments 

Borrowers can easily access their account at AESSuccess.org and make payments online in four steps:

  1. Sign into Account Access.
  2. Click “Make a Payment.”
  3. Enter your payment information (you can also save your bank account for future use.)
  4. Hit the “Make a Payment” button.

You can also pay through the AES mobile app, by phone at 800-233-0557, or by mail by sending a check or money order payable to American Education Services to:

American Education Services
P.O. Box 65093
Baltimore, MD 21264-5093

Direct Debit is the easiest method for making payments to AES. Direct Debit sets up an electronic deduction from your checking or savings account on your due date each month, ensuring that your payments are on time, provided there are sufficient funds in the account. You may also qualify for a 0.25% interest rate deduction. You’ll need to apply for Direct Debit, then continue making payments until you receive confirmation that Direct Debit will extract your next payment.

Make sure you sign up for automatic payments to get a 0.25% interest rate reduction.

About American Education Services

AES can be contacted by sending a secure email from within your account or by phone at 800-233-0557, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. EST. You can also send letters to:

American Education Services
P.O. Box 2461
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2461

There were 23 complaints submitted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2019 about AES. All received a timely response and most were closed with an explanation. Many of the narratives cited poor communication as their primary problem.

American Education Services Lawsuit

PHEAA has been subject to multiple lawsuits by states for allegedly mistreating and abusing borrowers in the PSLF program. There’s also a proposed class-action lawsuit claiming PHEAA intentionally worked to extend the length of borrowers loans, converted grants into loans, and failed to properly inform applicants of the PSLF program’s requirements, resulting in a 99% denial rate.

Is American Education Services Your Only Servicer?

If you have FFEL loans, AES is not your only loan-servicing choice. If you’d like to move your loans to another servicer, you have several options.

Refinance Your Loans

Refinancing your student loans through a private lender can potentially get you a lower interest rate, reduce your monthly payment, and help you pay off your loans early. It also changes your loan servicer. Investopedia has reviewed all of the best student loan refinance companies to help you find the right fit for you.

Consolidate Your Loans

When you consolidate your federal loans into one new federal direct loan, you can choose a new servicer. Note that consolidating loans will increase the weighted average of your previous interest rates by 0.125%.

Enroll in Public Service Loan Forgiveness

When you enroll in PSLF, your loans are automatically moved to FedLoan Servicing. Note that while operating under a different name, FedLoan Servicing is still PHEAA.

Final Verdict

When it comes to your loan servicer, you don’t get to choose who you work with; your loan servicer is assigned to you. If you’re unhappy with the service you’ve gotten from AES, consider refinancing your student loans or consolidating your loans with a Direct Consolidation Loan to get another servicer.

Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of student loan lenders. We collected over 45 data points across more than 15 lenders—including interest rates, fees, loan amounts, and repayment terms—to ensure that our content helps users make the right borrowing decision for their education needs.

Article Sources

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  1. U.S. Department of Education. "Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program." Accessed June 28, 2020.

  2. U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid. "Account Dashboard." Accessed June 28, 2020.

  3. PHEAA.org. "PA Forward Private Student Loans." Accessed June 28, 2020.

  4. American Education Services. "Ways to Pay." Accessed June 28, 2020.

  5. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Consumer Complaint Database." Accessed June 28, 2020.

  6. Reuters. "New York sues big U.S. student loan servicer for abusing borrowers." Accessed June 28, 2020.

  7. ClassAction.org. "Department of Education, DeVos, PHEAA Face Class Action Over Alleged Student Loan Mismanagement." Accessed June 28, 2020.

  8. FinAid. "Student Loan Consolidation." Accessed June 28, 2020.