Navient Student Loans Review: Rates, Options, and Public Opinion

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Navient student loans is one of the largest servicers of student loans in the country. The company was initially part of the Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE), also known as Sallie Mae, which was created by Congress to support student loans programs.

Although Navient is primarily a loan servicer, it also provides refinancing services to a section of its customers. Follow along as we compare Navient student loans to other loan providers and refinancing services.

What Is Navient Student Loans?

Navient student loans is a servicer for both federal and student loans. In 2004, GSE became a private sector company and morphed into Navient. The U.S. Department of Education chose Sallie Mae to service student loans on its behalf in 2009. The company also has the NaviRefi product: a refinancing solution that it extends out to select Navient customers by invitation only.

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​Loan Products Available

Navient student loans is primarily a loan service for both private and federal student loans. The company’s only consumer-facing service, NaviRefi, is a refinancing service. This service is also not available to the general public and Navient only offers it to some of its customers by invitation only.Navient offers a wide variety of repayment options and boasts an interest rate reduction program among its offerings. The company’s name has, in recent years, became synonymous with the lawsuits in which Navient is being accused of intentionally withholding information that would have helped customers save on their loans.The company obviously considers factor like credit history, employment, and incomes when giving a loan. The company does not disclose its maximum debt-to-income ratio and bankruptcy history requirements. Other requirements by this company are pretty standard and are similar to most other student debt providers: applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and must attend a Title IV-accredited school.The company, however, does not require the borrowers to have graduated to qualify for refinancing. The services are not available in Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Nevada, or California.


​Rates and Fees

This company’s refinance services are offered at competitive rates ranging from 2.46 to 7.35 percent APR depending on the credit history of the borrower and whether the loans are serviced at fixed rates or variable rates.

Navient does not charge origination fees, application fees, and late payment penalties for paying off the debt ahead of schedule.

​How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.

  • ​ NELNET
  • ​ Sallie Mae
  • ​ Cornerstone


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​Navient Student Loans

Fees and Rates $

Navient refinancing has both fixed and variable interest rate products. Fixed rates range from 3.48 to 7.35 percent APR while variable rates are from 2.46 to 6.83 percent APR. The variable rates are not available to customers in Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, Oklahoma, Mississippi. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Illinois, Hawaii, Connecticut, Colorado, and Arkansas.In terms of fees, Navient does not charge many of the most common fees. You will not pay application/origination fees, late fees, and prepayment penalties.

Loan Products Available 1 Star

Navient allows customers to refinance loans from $5,001 to $150,000 for graduate and undergraduate programs and up to $250,000 for professional programs. However, the fact that the company doesn’t offer loan services and refinancing is only available to some of the company’s customers means that its products portfolio is limited indeed. The company doesn’t have any option for co-signing or co-signer release.

Repayment Terms 4 Stars

The company has services loans of terms ranging from 5 to 20 years with one-year increments. We like the flexibility of the repayment schedules this company follows.

Customer Service Quality 3 Stars

Navient has predominantly negative customer reviews online. Also, as mentioned above, some customers and state authorities have taken this company to court for what they perceive to be deceitful practices by Navient.

Forbearance and Forgiveness 4 Stars

The company offers some flexibility in payments and there are some options to defer payments in case of financial hardships. The company allows academic deferment, military deferment, and forbearance in three-month increments for up 12 months in total. The company’s rate reduction program enables some borrowers who are struggling to get a reduced rate for six months.


  • ​Flexible when it comes to repayment
  • ​Allows people who didn’t graduate
  • ​Generous forbearance and deferment policy
  • ​Competitive refinance interest rates


  • ​Doesn’t offer loan services
  • ​Refinance services only available to existing customers by invitation
  • ​Embroiled in a number of lawsuits for fraud
  • ​Has a lot of negative reviews from customers
  • ​Doesn’t allow co-signing
  • ​No soft check to see if you qualify for refinancing
  • ​No biweekly payments


Nelnet is a loan servicer with headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska. The company has a customer base of more than five million student loan customers. This company services both federal and private student loans. In addition, Nelnet is in charge of the federal government Total and Permanent Disability Discharge program for loan cancellation.

​Fees and Rates N/A

​Being a loan servicer, the company does not directly charge fees.

​Loan Products Available 1 Stars

​Nelnet is basically a servicer for federal and private student loans. The company does not offer loans and refinance services. Also, don’t expect consolidation services from Nelnet.

​Repayment Terms 4 Stars

​The company offers flexible repayment terms ranging from 5 to 20 years. The company offers the standard, graduated, extended, income-sensitive, and income- driven repayment plans.

​Customer Service Quality 3.5 Stars

​The company has a considerable number of complaints logged on review sites and most reviews are positive.

​Forbearance and Forgiveness 4 Stars

​Nelnet allows people to apply for lower payments under a new repayment plan if they are facing financial hardships. The company’s website has a chart which you can use to explore options. The company allows for deferment and forbearance. Borrowers can apply for forbearance when the borrower is involved in certain types of community service or when facing financial hardships.


  • ​Multiple payment options
  • ​Allows autopay
  • ​Generous forbearance policy
  • ​Has a mobile app
  • ​Above average customer service


  • ​Doesn’t offer loans or refinance

​Sallie Mae

​Sallie Mae has a long history in the financial industry. The entity was founded in 1973 as a federal government program. In 2014, this program was split into Sallie Mae Bank and Navient. Sallie Mae offers undergraduate private student loans and offers flexible repayment terms and options. The company’s interest-only options which borrowers can take advantage of during the grace period allows borrowers to pay at interest rates that are about 1 percent lower than normal deferred payment programs.Sallie Mae offers loans in terms of 5 to 15 years. The minimum student loan amount the company gives is $1,000 and they can give as much as you need to meet your certified cost of attendance. The company allows a grace period of 6 months before you start repaying. Other products this company; fires include graduate student loans, student loans for parents, medical school loans, law school loans, bar loans, and medical and dental residency loans.This company doesn’t disclose minimum credit score and annual income requirements although the average credit score of co-signers is 748. 60 percent of the student loans provided by Sallie Mae have co-signers. The company reaches all U.S. states and territories

​Fees and Rates $

​Sallie Mae does not have application or origination fee. You will also never pay any late payment fee or prepayment penalties.

​Loan Products Available 4 Stars

​Unlike Navient student loans, this company offers loans and refinance services to the general public. The company offers loans to undergraduate, graduates, professional students, and students in an internship.

​Repayment Terms 4 Stars

​Sallie Mae offers a wide variety of repayment alternatives that can take between five and 20 years.

​Customer Service Quality 3 Stars

​The majority of customers are satisfied with the services of Sallie Mae, although there is no shortage of complaints.

​Forbearance and Forgiveness 4 Stars

​This company has a number of deferred payment options including interest-only payments and deferred payments. The company allows for in-school, military, internship, and other types of deferment. There is a 12-month forbearance in three month increments over the life of the loan.


  • ​One of the few lenders that serve part-time students
  • ​12-month interest-only repayment options after finishing school
  • ​Allows loan co-signing
  • ​Co-signer release after 12 on-time payments
  • ​Low interest-rate deferred payments program


  • ​Doesn’t offer custom interest rates before you officially apply
  • ​Limited forbearance policy
  • ​No biweekly payments option


​CornerStone student loans is a federal student loan servicer to which some students who have federal government debt are are assigned. The company is a nonprofit that is run by the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority and is based in Salt Lake City. CornerStone has a number of perks offered exclusively to members of the military.There is an SCRA interest rate cap at 6 percent when serving in active duty. Like Navient student loans, CornerStone allows military deferment. The company also has a public service loan forgiveness program and charges 0 percent interest to military personnel when deployed in hazardous areas. The company also offers income-based repayment plans to military personnel. In addition, CornerStone enables members of the armed forces to access Department of Defense loan repayment options and the HEROES Act Waiver.

​Fees and Rates N/A

​The company doesn’t directly charge rates and interest rates. But the company does offer a 0.25 percent interest rate reduction if you set up automatic payments.

​Loan Products Available 1 Star

​Like Navient student loans, CornerStone does not offer loans directly to students. The company also doesn’t offer refinance services either. The only service offered by CornerStone is servicing federal government student loans. Loans serviced by this company include Direct subsidized loans, direct unsubsidized loans, direct PLUS loans, Direct Consolidation Loans, and Perkins Loans.

​Repayment Terms 3 Stars

​Thi company has repayment terms that range in length from five to 20 years. The company offers flexibility in payment options and borrowers who are struggling to pay can arrange for alternative payment programs. Some might even qualify for income-driven plans.

​Customer Service Quality 4 Stars

​The company offers good customer service and has above-average reviews on most review sites.

​Forbearance and Forgiveness 4 Stars

​This company offers a number of student loan forgiveness programs. Public service employees at nonprofits and employees of the government can qualify for forgiveness if they make on-time payments for ten years. Teachers who meet the requirements of Cornerstone can also qualify for student loan forgiveness. You can postpone payments of loans from this company by up to 12 months.


  • ​0.25 percent reduction when you choose autopay
  • ​Generous loan forgiveness programs
  • ​Great in-person customer service on working days


  • ​Doesn’t offer loans
  • ​Does not refinance


Navient student loans is one of the biggest federal student loan services in the U.S. The company also offers loan servicing services to private lenders. We like the fact that the company allows flexibility in making payments. Because the company’s products are limited to loan servicing and refinancing (which the company only offers to directly to some of its customers), you likely will never apply to be a customer of Navient student loans directly.

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The company has faced criticism in the past few years over allegedly fraudulently withholding information that would enable customers to save money on their loans, and the company is currently defending a number of court cases in different states concerning these allegations.The company also has a numerous negative reviews from disgruntled customers.

Unfortunately, you don’t choose your student loan servicer and there is little you can do if you don’t like the way the servicer is handling your loan. The most sure way you can get rid of Navient as your loan service is to refinance with a private student loan provider. This may not be in your best interests as it will likely increase your interest rates. We give Navient student loans a score of 2 out of 5.

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