American Education Services (AES) - Student Loans Servicer

Learn about American Education Services (AES) student loans, the various repayment plans and benefits offered by them to help you decide if it is a good fit for you. Also, learn about refinancing options for the loans.

Updated by Heibha Passah on 20th July 2019

AES is a student loan servicer established by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) to provide loan servicing and guarantee to different types of Federal and private student loans. These loans are not provided by AES but it acts only as a loan servicer to lenders all over the country.

PHEAA owns both AES and FedLoan Servicing and they both provide student loan services to student borrowers all over the country.

American Education Services help in managing the loan portfolios of the borrowers and guide them so that they will be able to make loan repayments without any difficulty. It provides loan services like accepting and processing debit payments and guarantees, processing their financial aid, providing different repayment plans and help the borrowers in choosing the best one, and other student aid programs.

It is known for providing world-class loan servicing by mainly focusing on the following.

  • Unique customer service

  • Processing payments and fulfillment activities

  • Asset Management Reporting (AMR) End of Month Reporting

  • Consumer reporting, notification, and counseling

  • Results-oriented default management Practices.


Table of contents


Ways to make payments

AES provides various ways in which you can transfer your loan payments-

1. Direct Debit - Signing up for direct debit will enable the servicer to automatically deduct your monthly payments from your bank account. You need not worry about remembering the due date and the amount will be deducted even if the due date falls on a weekend or holiday.

Benefits 

  • It is the most convenient way of making payments as it ensures timely payments every month

  • It is free and you might even be eligible to get a reduction on your interest payments

  • The monthly payments are directly deducted from your savings or checking account on the due date every month, so you need not worry about late payments as long as funds are available.

2. Online Payment - Through online payment, you can make a one-time payment of your loans by creating an account on the AES website.

Benefits 

  • It allows you to make payments anytime

  • You have the option of scheduling payments in advance

  • You can save your bank account details so that it would be convenient for you each time you need to make payments

  • You can target the extra amount of payments you have to certain loans

3. Mobile App - You can download the AES app on your Android or iPhone and sign in with your username and password for making payments.

Benefits

  • You can easily make payments from anywhere and at any time. 

  • You can save your bank account details so that it would be easy for you to make payments.

4. Pay by phone

  • You can directly call on 1-800-233-0557, to make payments at any time

  • You can select the payment date as per your convenience up to 60 days in the future

  • Make sure to have your 10-digit account number and date of birth information ready as they will ask for it to cross-verify.

5. Pay by mail - You can send your check or money order across to -

American Education Services

P.O. Box 65093

Baltimore, MD 21264-5093

Make sure to include your AES account number on your check. If you are an endorser or co-signer, do mention your account number also.

6. Third-Party Bill-Pay Services - Ensure you have the correct address when using pay-bill service or if it is done through your bank to make sure it reaches the right place.

The following information has to be kept in mind - 

  • If payment is set up through a third party, then there is no interest rate deduction on automatic payments or direct debit

  • If you or your bill-pay service sends across a payment through the mail, then it’ll be effective on the date that it is received or the next business day if it falls on a weekend or holiday

  • When submitting payment, do not write any extra information or instructions. If you have to make certain instructions then make sure to contact AES directly

  • If you want to pay an extra amount every month and apply these extra amounts to certain loans, write a mail to them instructing them about it.

7. Make payments in advance - You can schedule future payments online through your account or by phone up to eight payments in a 60 day period. You can choose the payment date as per your convenience but keep in mind that payments cannot be scheduled on a Saturday or Sunday or on a holiday when you pay by phone.


Targeting payments

American Education Services (AES) also provides you the option of paying extra amount every month and targeting these extra payments towards specific loans.

Benefits

  • You can choose where you want your extra money to go

  • The interest you pay may reduce over time

  • It can help you save money in the long run

These extra funds can be targeted towards unsubsidized loans as interest accrues, high balanced loans and loans with higher interest rates. If you make extra payments but did not make any instructions as to where to target these payments, then it will be directed towards any future bill. The amount will be divided among your loans based on the amount due for each loan.

Pay ahead

If you wish to pay more than the monthly amount due for each month, then you may do so in which your account will show a 'paid ahead' or 'partially paid ahead' status.

If you are eligible for full future payment, then the amount due on your next month’s bill will be shown as $0. If you receive a bill for it, you might want to pay the scheduled amount as interest continues to accrue.

Exception - You will not be eligible for a future payment if your bill amount is $0 under Income-Based Repayment Schedule option or reduced payment forbearance.

If the extra amount that you pay is only a part of your next month’s payment, then the total amount due on your next bill will be the difference.

Suppose your normal bill is $200 and you paid extra $100 in the previous month, the amount due will be shown as $100.


Repayment plans offered

A number of repayment plan options are available for both your Federal and Alternative (Private) loans to help you make timely payments.

Repayment plans for Federal Loans-

1. Standard Repayment Plan - This plan allows you to make a fixed amount of payment every month with a repayment term of 10 years (except for consolidation loans). If the annual interest rate increases, then the monthly payment amounts might change for variable interest rate loans.

2. Graduated Repayment Plan - The monthly payment amounts will initially be smaller as only interest payments are made, but gradually increases every 2 years. The repayment term is 10 years (except for consolidation loans).

3. Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan - The monthly payment amounts are based on the monthly gross income and student loan debt.

4. Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR) - This plan allows the borrowers who are facing financial problems to manage their monthly payments. The repayment term might extend to more than 10 years.

Borrowers who have made 300 qualifying payments on or after July 1, 2009, can qualify for loan forgiveness under IBR.

To qualify for IBR your initial monthly payment amount on all of your eligible loans calculated on a standard 10-year repayment plan must be more than 15% of the difference between your adjusted gross income and 150% of the poverty line for your family size.

5. 25-Year Extended Repayment Plan - It allows to lower your monthly repayment amounts by extending the term of repayment to 25 years. It can be either standard or graduated and is available to only those borrowers who have their loans first disbursed on or after October 7, 1998, and a current loan balance of $30000 or more.

If you want to know about the various repayment options available for your alternative (private) loans, contact AES directly and discuss it with them.


Loan forgiveness and discharge programs

Your loan can be forgiven or discharged if you are qualified for any of programs below -

1.Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program - This program was started to motivate individuals to join and continue in the teaching profession.

Eligibility criteria

  • Your loans must be disbursed after January 10, 1998, and disbursement of any loan on or before January 10, 1998, must have a balance of $0 before the existing loans were disbursed

  • The underlying loans or a consolidation loan must be disbursed after January 10, 1998

  • You are teaching full-time for at least five successive full academic years at a Title 1 school listed on the Department of Education's Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory (TCLI)

The school must be qualified for the first year at least, out of your 5 qualifying years of service. In case the school loses its eligibility, the teaching service still remaining will be counted towards your total.

2. Loan Discharge - If you qualify for loan discharge, then you do not need to make any more payments on your loan to your lender and you will also receive a refund of the payments you have made.

Eligibility criteria

  • The school/college you are attending was closed before you complete the program that you’ve taken the loan for. If you were absent, it should be on approved leave or you were attending school in less than 120 days of the closure date

  • The school you were enrolled in falsely certified your ability to benefit from the education, i.e they tested your ability in an improper manner at the time of enrollment

  • Your eligibility was certified by your school, but you were disqualified from a job that you were being trained for because of a physical or mental condition, age, criminal record or any other reason

  • The loan application or promissory note was signed on your name by the school without your permission and you didn’t attend class

  • Your identity was stolen and was used to obtain a loan

  • Unpaid Refund Loan Discharge - If your school did not pay a tuition refund required under federal law and you withdrew during the refund period published by the school, then the unpaid refund amount will be discharged

  • You are a spouse or parent of an eligible public servant or other eligible victims of September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and either died or became permanently and totally disabled. The loans that qualify for discharge, as per the US Department of Education are the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), Federal Perkins Loan Program and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program


[ Read more on Student Loan Discharge ]


3. Total and Permanent Disability - You will qualify for Total and Permanent Disability if you are physically or mentally impaired or a veteran with a condition you got because of rendering service.

For more information or to get an application regarding this, you can contact the Nelnet Total and Permanent Disability Servicer directly by calling 1-888-303-7818, if you have Federal Loans.

If you have Private Loans you can contact AES directly.

4. Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program - If you qualify for this program, then the outstanding balance on your direct loans after making 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan and working full time for a qualifying employer will be forgiven.

Eligibility criteria

  • You are working for a government agency or for particular types of non-profit organizations full time

  • You have Direct Loans (or Direct Consolidation Loans)

  • You are enrolled in an Income-Driven Repayment Plan

5. Death - If you are a Federal Loan borrower, then your loans will be discharged if you die and if you are a parent PLUS loan borrower and the student dies, then your loan will be discharged. A death certificate has to be submitted as proof.

In the case of private loans, you have to contact AES to assist you with any information you require.


Benefits for Servicemen provided by ASE

As an appreciation to the servicemembers of the country, AES has provided a number of benefits for them. These benefits differ depending on the type of loan you have.

Benefits for service members with Federal Loans

1. Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) - Members qualifying for this benefit will have their interest rates limited to 6% if their student loans were acquired before the military service. All the costs and fees will be relinquished at the time of service. This benefit is applicable only to federal loans acquired after August 14, 2008. 

2. Reduced Payment and Loan Forgiveness Options - Your monthly payments can be reduced and can also make you eligible for forgiveness program if you enroll in an income-based and income-sensitive repayment plan. 

3. Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge

4. Postponing Payments - You can postpone your payments through the deferment or forbearance program provided for service members.

Benefits for service members with Private Loans

1. Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

2. Postponing Payments


Options provided for borrowers having payment issues

If you are facing financial problems and have trouble making your payments, AES has the following options available for you-

1. Changing your due date - It will allow you to schedule your payment at a later or earlier date, whichever is convenient for you.

You will be eligible for this if you-

  • Are in repayment

  • Have made your first scheduled payment

  • Are current on your monthly payments

  • Have loans that are eligible

  • Requested a date between the 1st and 28th of the month

2. Reduce your payments - You can reduce your payments by choosing a repayment plan which will help you in saving more money. Look upon the different repayment plan options available to you and depending on your financial situation, you can decide on the one that will give you the maximum benefit.

Comparison of the repayment plans and the amount of the monthly payments that have to be made on each plan is shown on the table below-

Repayment Plan Monthly Payment Amount ($)
Standard Same amount throughout the period
Graduated Lower payments at the beginning and increases later
Income-Sensitive On the basis of your income
Income-Based On the basis of your income and family size
25-year Extended Lower payment amounts but for a longer period of time

3. Postpone your payments - If you feel like you can’t make payments at all, then postponing your payments by applying for a deferment or forbearance might help.

Deferment - It allows you to temporarily stop making payments.

You can qualify for a deferment if you are -

  • Attending school

  • Facing economic hardship

  • Unemployed

  • Military deployment

It is applicable for all FFELP loans like Stafford loans, Supplemental loans for students, PLUS loans, Consolidation loans, and all federal direct loans. Also on some alternative (private) loans, based on the type of loan type and servicer.

Interest generally accrues during the deferment period and for Subsidized Federal Loans, the government pays it while on other loans you are responsible for it.

Forbearance - It allows you to temporarily reduce or stop making payments.

You can qualify for a forbearance if you are -

  • Facing economic hardship

  • Facing temporary hardship

  • Unemployed

  • Military deployment

  • Any natural disaster

It is applicable for the loans like Stafford loans, Supplemental loans for students, PLUS loans, Consolidation loans, and all Federal Direct loans. It is also applicable to some alternative (private) loans, based on the type of loan type and servicer.

Interest generally accrues during the deferment period and you are responsible for making payments for it.

4. Consolidate your loans - If you have multiple federal student loans, then you can consolidate them into a single new loan with new repayment terms. It will allow you to make smaller amounts of payment but it’ll be extended over a longer period of time at a higher interest rate.

Some of the pros and cons of consolidation are explained below. 

Pros Cons
Smaller amounts of payment Extended repayment period
One payment, lender and servicer Interest might be higher as it is calculated on the weighted average of the loans (rounded up to the nearest 1/8th percentage)
Fixed interest rate Lose on various federal loan benefits

Another advantage of consolidation is that there is no limit on the number of loans to be consolidated and there is no requirement of having a minimum balance.

5. Bankruptcy - If you are filing a for bankruptcy AES will stop any effort on collecting debts that are part of the bankruptcy filing while the case is still going on in court.

It should be noted that you have to continue payment of your debts after the bankruptcy as it is usually not allowed for discharge. Also, your interest will continue to accrue while you’re in bankruptcy.


Endorsers, Co-signers, and Co-makers

1. For private loans, you can have a co-signer who is also known as an endorser to help you repay your loans if you don’t have the ability to do it yourself. Both you and your co-signer are equally responsible for repaying your debts.

Co-signer release - Lenders might provide a co-signer release on your loan program. The conditions for qualifying for a release depends upon the lenders and may vary.

Minimum requirements for co-signer release are -

  • Making particular payments successively and on time. The number of these payments to be made depends upon the lenders. But they usually range between 24-48 payments

  • If you make a lump-sum payment, then it’ll be counted as only one qualifying payment for the co-signer release

  • It might be required for you to sign up for Direct Debit when making payments before requesting for a co-signer release

  • If forbearance is used before you request for a release, then you may be disqualified or your qualifying payment counter will restart.

Deferment and Forbearance options - If the borrower is applying for a deferment or forbearance, then you can also apply based on the terms and conditions of the promissory note/credit arrangement you have with your lender.

As explained above, an endorser is one who will assist and help you out in repaying your loans whereas, a co-maker is a person with another loan and both of you come into an agreement to combine your loans to a joint Consolidation Loan where both of you will pay the debts together.

Also, you can be a co-maker if you and another person agreed to pay back a parent PLUS loan before 2000. Both you and your co-maker are equally responsible to pay back your debts till the end of the repayment period.


Is AES student loan a good option?

AES is a national leader in providing quality customer service and support to the borrowers regarding their student loans. It has a unique way of interacting with their customers and being active on their website as well as social media sites. They also have a huge knowledge base with professionals looking upon the loan servicing activities to guide and provide the best experience to the customers.

AES also helps in preserving the environment by starting paperless services by providing billing statements and replying to customers’ post mails only through emails. Also, tax forms are generated electronically.

It has a 3-star rating on Consumer Affairs.

While most of the borrowers using their services are quite happy with it, but, like other loan servicers, they also have faults and a few customers have reported that they were facing some issues with it. These issues include the increase in the interest rates, providing false information, the direct debit option of making payments not functioning, identity theft, showing loans as delinquent even if one is in forbearance which ruins the credit score, and more factors as such. 

As there are always advantages and disadvantages to anything, so the same is with AES or any other loan servicer. You can do more research and find out more from friends or relatives who have had experience with AES.


Refinancing AES student loans

Refinancing your student loans allows you to take out another loan with new terms to pay off your previous loans. It can only be done through a private lender which allows you to switch your loan servicer if you want to.

The interest rate is determined based on your credit score and employment history, which means that having a good credit score and stable employment history will allow you to get a lower interest rate on this new loan. You also have the option of either extending or reducing your repayment period which leads to making lower or higher amounts of the monthly payment. You can also convert your variable-interest-rate loan to a fixed interest rate one.

But keep in mind that refinancing federal loans with a private lender will deprive you of all the benefits available on your federal loans like loan forgiveness, income-based repayment plan, deferment, and forbearance, and more.


FAQ's

  Are AES and FedLoan the same?


AES and FedLoan are two different loan servicers owned by the same company called PHEAA (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency).

  Is AES legitimate?


Yes, AES is a legitimate company. You can check out the various reviews about their services online and even get in touch with those who have used their services.

  Can you refinance AES student loans?


Yes, you can refinance AES student loans with another private lender as AES doesn’t provide loans of their own.

  Can I get lower interest rates on my AES loans?


Since AES is only a loan servicer, it cannot help with interest rates as it is set by the respective lenders of the loan. But you can qualify for a reduction on your interest rate if you sign up for the Direct Debit payment option.

   How are interest rates calculated?


For Federal Loans- If you are still in school, then interest accrues at a rate based on the 91-day Treasury bill plus 1.7%.  

After you are out of school, interest accrues at the same T-bill rate plus 2.3%.

For Federal PLUS loans, interest accrues on the 91-day T-bill plus 3.1%.

  Can I change my repayment plan?


Yes, AES provides various repayment plan options for Federal Loans which you can choose from based on your preference. For private loans, you can contact AES directly to know more about the options you have.

   Are we charged for making online payments through AES?


No, there is no charge on making online payments.

  When will AES deduct the funds from my account?


Funds are deducted within two days after the selected payment date.

  Can I make payments on the loan I co-signed for?


Yes, you can make payments for the loan you cosigned for if the borrower doesn’t have the ability to repay it.