American Education Services (AES) – Managing Student Loans
Servicing student loans has become major business in the United States. It is estimated at up to 70% of students graduate college with some amount of student loan debt. Student loan debt is growing faster than other other form of consumer debt. Sadly, many experts are anticipating it being a major component of any future financial crisis. Given the nature of the lending industry, it makes sense that organizations have emerged with the sole purpose of managing loans (as opposed to actually providing the funds).
AES is not a lender in the traditional sense. You cannot apply for a student loan with AES directly. With that said, you may find that you end up managing your student loan payments and account services with AES. As a loan service provider, they will be the platform for which aspects of your loan account are handled. This would include features like making payments, seeking payment assistance, and managing your account settings.
What is AES and How Do They Fit In To The Student Loan Puzzle?
Student loans (especially private student loans) often change hands between lenders . With that exchange, sometimes consumers will find that their loans are serviced by new companies. AES would fall under the “loan service” umbrella. They are not a bank or a lender. While the lending provider switches hands regularly (banks selling loans to other banks), AES provides a single source for servicing your loan. AES is a federally approved service for lenders. There are only a number of student loan service providers that meet the criteria to service loans under direction of the Department of Education and AES is one of those groups. Of course, this is not to say they are not without their fair share of criticism.
AES services federal loans as well as a select group of private loans. The organization was made under the direction of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) with the intention to service a group of loans known as the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). The group services millions of student loans and provides customer service to borrowers who are in the repayment stage of their student loan.
Services Provided By AES Student Loans
Once you set up an account with AES you will be able to manage your account online. Services provided with AES will include loan payment services, forbearance services, payment options, managing your loan profile, and viewing your loan balance. Before you can access your loan details you will need to create an account with AES. Alternatively you may be able to sign in to your account using the Partner Access Sign In.
The screenshot above is what you will find when you visit www.aessuccess.org and it actually provides 3 distinct options. The yellow sign in button will be for anyone who already has set up an AES account with AES Success. Following the link will allow you to log in to your account using your AES Username and Password.
If you are creating an account for the first time, some verification will be required before you can access your loan details. Customers will need to verify their identity and create an account Username and Password which will be used to access their loan details in the future.
The final option is the Partner Access Link. If you are logging in using an existing account which is Partnered with AES then you will follow this link and provide your Partner Access Account details. This will allow you to access your account in cooperation with AES.
Paying Your Student Loans With AES
There is one big thing to remember with loans – always make your payment! Missing loan payments is one of the biggest threats borrowers face. There are a number of ways to make payments including direct debit, setting up online payments, and paying by check. Be sure to set up the option that will be easiest for you to manage to avoid missing a payment.
Targeting your payments is another interesting option available for borrowers. You will be able to decide how much you would like to pay in addition to your minimum payment due. These additional funds will be allocated to allow of you existing loans and will go towards paying down the balances which can save you in interest expenses in the long run. If you are able to make additional payment on your loan this is often a good idea so long as you can afford the expense.
Trouble Paying For Your Student Loans With AES
AES provides many options for customers who may not be able to make their monthly payments. If you are finding that you cannot afford you payment this should be the first place you go to for help. Ignoring the problem and hoping it goes away is not going to work out well in the long run. Eventually you loan will be moved to collections and your credit history will suffer the consequences.
There are a variety of services and options for customers who cannot meet their payment responsibilities. It is not in anyone’s interest for borrowers to miss their payment and AES attempts to provide some options for relief. Some of the assistance AES provides includes:
- Changing your payment due date
- Updating your payment plan to reduce payment
- Postpone or forebear your payment temporarily
- Loan consolidation to make one single payment
All of these above avenues are viable options to assist borrowers who are dealing with financial hardships. AES provides details regarding all of these options to attempt to provide help when it is needed most.
Managing Your Student Loan Account With AES
As we have discussed, AES is a loan management group. All aspects of your loan can be addressed within your online account. You will be able to view loans details such as current balance and interest rate. Personal settings such as contact information and account details can also be addressed.
In addition to the information found above, you will also find your tax information for your loan within your account management features. This is especially important because the interest you pay on your student loans is tax deductible. When you file you taxes it is absolutely critical that you include any student loan interest payment you made during the tax year.
What People Are Saying About AES Student Loan Servicing
Overall, AES has been absolutely pummeled with poor reviews. The main complaints seems to be focused around miserable customer service. Consumer Affairs (a for profit consumer review website) has some of the most scathing reviews. They currently have a 1.1 out of 5 based on reviews from this year.
Customer service in the lending industry can be a tough sell. People are already upset to be paying money often at high interest rates. Sadly, AES seems to fail to convince consumers that their mobile App is any good either. The app has a 2.3 rating on the Apple iTunes Store.
Reading through the reviews does reveal one major problem affecting consumers – they do not understand how loans work. Ultimately, these loans were applied for and accepted by the applicants and their complaints of high payments and interest rate is not the fault of AES. Consumers need to be aware of what they are getting in to when they take on debt. Many of the reviews you see on loan providers and services often reflect the ignorance of the average consumer. That is why Credit Liftoff and other personal finance blogs exist!
Final Thoughts On AES Student Loans
There is a lot of confusion about exactly what the role of AES is in the student loan space. Hopefully this post helps clear up some of the confusion. Many users are telling people who never take a loan out with AES. Unfortunately their words do not mean all that much. Your federal loan may or may not be serviced by AES and you likely will have no say whatsoever. Your loan service provider is not in charge of your loan – you are in charge of your loan. The terms you accepted were provided at the time of applying but all to often we ignore this information until it becomes a problem later in life.
In preparing this information, I spent quite a bit of time researching and using the AES website and interface. It seems to be well organized and succinct although their are portions of the site that feel dated and somewhat difficult to navigate. If you are having issues with AES you can contact their customer service at 1-800-233-0557. It may be difficult but remember that the customer service rep was not the one who made the decision to take out these loans – you made that decision.