American Education Services
When small kids need a little financial boost, they head right to the Bank of Mom and Dad. There’s no paperwork to fill out, no credit checks to pass and no worries about rejection. But, if these children want to rely on their parents as the sole source of funding for a higher education experience, they might be disappointed. And when they look for help in order to pay for school, the number of options open to them can be dizzying.
American Education Services, or AES, is one company that might come into the mix when students look for help with a student loan bill. Knowing what this company does, and when it might get involved in a student’s education program, could help families understand how to manage debts as a student works through school.
According to the company’s website, AES was originally designed to do two things: provide and service loans through the Family Federal Education Loan Program (FFELP), and provide private loans to students who didn’t quality for FFELP. The FFELP program is no longer in use, but AES may still be servicing loans that were made under this program that have yet to be repaid. In addition, AES might work as the servicer for a number of newer loans that come through the U.S. Department of Education. Some students apply for these loans with the help of AES, but others may have seen their loans move from a different purchaser to AES in recent years. Moves like this aren’t uncommon, as banks often sell and buy debts in order to balance their books. But many loan servicers were forced to sell off their student loan debts in recent years, due to the 2010 health care overhaul bill. According to an analysis conducted by ProPublica, this bill contained a small clause that mandated that federal loan servicers achieve not-for-profit status, or sell their debts to companies that do have this status. The company that founded AES, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, has this not-for-profit status, and this allows AES to service federal loans without violating the law.
In addition to providing help with federal loans, AES continues to provide a number of private loan options for students who don’t qualify for, or who don’t want to use, federal options for school financing.
Benefits of AES
This company provides students with a number of free resources they can use in order to plan for, and pay for, their educations. Their EducationPlanner.org site, for example, provides students with a great deal of information about how to prepare for admissions tests, and the tools found here allow students to find programs that will meet their needs for a quality education. The You Can Deal With It site provides a number of articles that students can use in order to:
- Manage credit card debt
- Save money
- Create a budget
- Apply for aid
Students can also use either of these sites to apply for consolidation loans for school, if they’re dealing with a large number of smaller loans and finding that it’s difficult to pay all of their debts in a comprehensive manner.
Students can also use the Fed Loan Servicing site in order to pay their student loan debts and find out more about the services available to them if the payments seem too difficult to make.
All of these sites are password protected, so if students want to do more than simply read, they’ll need to create an account and come up with a unique password. Once inside the system, they’ll be guided through a series of pages that vary, depending on what they need to do and what they’ve already done in the past. Each site also has a “Contact Us” function in which students can send email messages about specific problems they’re facing.
Many students may want to read up on how loans work, and they might even find it helpful to learn more about how to tweak their household budgets, so they’ll have more money open for their loan payments. But many students want to keep things simple, and they log on only when they need to make a payment. These students can simply log onto the AES site and make a one-time online payment. Students can also set up automatic deductions, if they’d rather not make payments like this on a manual basis. Those who don’t want to use a computer at all can also make payments
by phone, but these students may still need to log on in order to get the proper phone number to call.
Students who are struggling to pay their loans (and among borrowers in 2010, nearly half fit into this category, according to The New York Times) can use this same site to explore their consolidation and debt relief options. By clicking on “loan servicing,” they’ll be placed in contact with customer service representatives who can explain options and provide the proper paperwork.
Some students struggling with debt may find that they can get ahead by working directly with AES. Smaller payments, a break from payments or some other form of relief may help to ease a temporary struggle and make paying for school easier. But many students find that they simply cannot deal with their payments at all, no matter how accommodating AES might be. If these students have federal loans, forgiveness programs might be intensely helpful.
Federal debt forgiveness programs, such as Pay As You Earn, allow students to make payments that are commensurate with their salaries. At the end of a specific time period, the unpaid portion of the debt is forgiven, although students might be required to pay taxes on the discharged debt. At the moment, programs like this are only available to students who have loans that began after October 1, 2007, but the White House is reportedly hoping to amend that portion of the program and make this kind of relief available to all borrowers.
Students who want to apply for this kind of forgiveness can also do so by contacting AES directly, although they might be encouraged to consider other private loans that the company offers.
How can I tell if AES services my loan?
The jumps and shifts in the student loan business can leave some students wondering whether or not their loans are even being handled by AES or another company. Students who move frequently, and who may not keep their loan officers notified of each move, may have specific questions about whom they should talk to in order to pay back their loans. Students with questions can log into the National Student Loan Data System in order to see who is servicing their loans.
Must I make payments online?
No. AES provides a number of different types of payment options, including those that don’t require a computer. Students can call and make a payment via telephone, they can mail in checks, or they can use direct debt and skip the hassle of payments altogether. AES doesn’t require borrowers to stick with one plan either, so students can skip from option to option as they see fit.
What is the direct debit payment option offered by AES?
AES offers a direct debit payment option to its student borrowers as a free, streamlined way to make regular payments. Upon approval of the direct debit application, a monthly payment is electronically transferred from the borrower’s bank account to AES and applied against the outstanding debt on the borrower’s AES loan.
I want to use direct debt payments, but I can’t find my ABA Routing Number. Can you help?
The American Bankers Association (ABA) Routing Number is a 9-digit number that helps identify financial institutions. This number should be at the bottom of checks, alongside the account number. Contact the user’s bank or credit union for more specific issues with the ABA Routing Number.
Is there only one option when it comes to making payments on federal loans serviced by AES?
No. AES provides a number of different payment options for federal loans, including:
Some of these options reduce the amount of money a student has to pay on a monthly basis, but programs like this can be more expensive for students, as the interest charges can climb with each reduced payment a borrower makes. Students should examine their options carefully.
Is AES the right choice for me?
Students have a number of options open to them when it comes to student loans, and it pays for students to really look at what their loan servicers can offer. AES does provide a mix of public and private loans, and that might make it an attractive option for some students. The company has been in business for decades, so there’s a lot of experience backing up each loan. It might not be the right company for all students, especially those who are uncomfortable with the idea of mixing public and private sources of income, but some might find it helpful.
What are the alternatives?
Here at SimpleTuition, we offer many of the same tools provided by AES. We can help students to understand their federal loans, and we can provide guidance that can help students to reduce the amount of money they’ll need to set aside for school. We can even help to link students with private loans. But we don’t service federal loans, so there won’t be the same kind of conflict for students who work with us. See our tools for yourself, and be your own judge!
- If you’re looking for a loan, to help you better understand your options we have a free student loan search tool.
- We help you compare loans from different lenders, so you can get an understanding for which loan works best for you.
- If you’re looking to finance your college education, remember to look for scholarships, grants, and federal loans before turning to private loans, in order to minimize costs.