Whoa - I had no idea Earnest is being offered by Navient. This will *definitely* impact the advice I give them when asked.
If I'm talking with someone dead set on going with a private loan, I usualy reference Sofi, Earnest, and Lendkey and now I know better. I blame myself for not doing more research into these companies, and I thank you for bringing this out.
And yes, I think Navient is being shady as heck by offering private student loans.
Out of curiosity, of the federal servicers, is there one that is less shady? If I'm going to refi (and I'm currently w Navient), do any have a better reputation? (I know, it's like comparing rotten apples to rotten oranges.)
Funny you should ask that -
If you consolidate your loan, you get to CHOOSE your servicer, which I wish I'd known, because I was doing it over the phone and had all of a few minutes to do some massive googling.
I have Cornerstone - I've been very happy (relatively speaking) with them overall. Their communication isn't the greatest to start, but they DO communicate and they have both chat and live-people-on-the-phone options. It's actually EASY to get a person on the phone, which I appreciate.
When I first started, you couldn't do anything online, it was all fax and mail (which actually was the source of my communication issues), but now they allow far more online (revamped the website about 6 months ago?).
If not Cornerstone, Great Lakes would probably be my other recommend, as they also seem pretty easy to deal with (again, relatively speaking).
I don't have anything negative to say about some of the other less-known ones.
I would rather not deal with Navient or Nelnet from what I've heard from others, and AES/PHEAA can die in a fire as far as I'm concerned (I have dealt with them in the past, they're the reason I went into a second default).
Thank you, that's why I asked. I haven't had any noticeable problems w Navient, although I feel like I should probably get an interest accounting, but they have such a terrible reputation, I don't want to stay with them if it's just a matter of time until there's a issue.
No problem - and I totally understand.
The reason I chose Cornerstone was because they had easy-to-reach live humans. I figured that if something was going to go wrong, being able to talk to a human would be best. 100% no complaints - my first and only snafu was fixed through a phone call.
They only accept payment through ACH (checking/savings), so if you're going to want to use cards for rewards or anything, that's a no-go. I have auto payments (for the .25% discount), and I don't want to play reindeer games and chance something going wrong, so that wasn't a problem for me.
I would recommend you pick what property/options is/are most important to you (live humans, payment options, social media contacts, whatever), do a little research, and choose accordingly.