Conduent Student Loans Review (formerly ACS)
For many people with student loan debt, you’ve had to deal with Conduent. The government, as well as many private lenders, utilizes a loan servicer to manage student loans and process payments. Conduent was one of the largest loan servicers for federal student loans.
Before that, they were known as ACS student loans. Recently, that has changed and Conduent no longer services student loans. What do you need to know if you have Conduent student loans or ACS student loans?
Who Is Conduent Education Services?
Conduent Education Services, also known as Conduent, is a student loan servicer in the US.
It was formed in 2017 when their parent company, Conduent Business Services, purchased loan servicer ACS Student Loans. Despite the purchase and name change, many borrowers refer to the company as ACS still.
One of the largest loan servicers in the US, ACS held a $2 billion contract with the federal government. However, most of the federal direct loans they serviced were moved to other services in 2013, before Conduent’s purchase.
In 2016, before being bought by Conduent, ACS settled a lawsuit brought by the state of Massachusetts. ACS was charged with abusive collection practices and poor handling of accounts. This is not their only legal issue during their time servicing loans.
What Student Loans Were Being Serviced By Conduent?
What loans were being serviced by Conduent up until that point?
FFEL loans are no longer an option for borrowers since the program was discontinued in 2010. Many borrowers are still paying on FFEL loans that were being serviced by Conduent up until recently.
Campus-based loans are federal loans administered directly by the financial aid office at participating schools. Loans that fall under this category include:
- Federal Perkins Loans
- Nursing Student Loans (NSL)
- Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL)
- Federal Loan for Disadvantaged Students (LDS)
- Nurse Faculty Loans (NFL)
- Primary Care Loans (PCL)
- Institutional Loans
Campus-based loans have repayment options determined by the schools, not loan servicers.
Conduent also serviced private student loans up until September 2019. These were private loans that originated with other lenders and are still being paid off. Conduent and ACS never originated any student loans.
Now that Conduent has stopped servicing all student loans, borrowers with Conduent student loans need to determine who is servicing their loans now.
Who Is Servicing My Conduent Student Loans Now?
For people with campus-based loans, your new loan servicer was chosen by your school. If you haven’t received information from your college or university on where your loan has been transferred, contact them directly for updates.
FFEL Loans and private loan borrowers can identify their lender and loan servicer by using the National Student Loan Data System. Click on “Financial Aid Review” and enter your FSA ID and password. Once logged in, you’ll find information on all of your federal student loans, including your loan servicer and their contact information.
Once, you find out who is servicing your loans, you can contact them directly if you need support.
How To Change My Student Loan Servicer
When student loans are moved from one servicer to another, you have no say in what servicer you receive. For anyone with Conduent or ACS student loans, as well as any other federal loan borrower, you can’t choose your loan servicer.
The only way to change your loan servicer is to consolidate your student loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan.
Direct Consolidation Loan
With a Direct Consolidation Loan, you can combine federal student loans into one loan. Your new loan will have new terms, a new interest rate, and only one monthly payment. During the process, you can choose your new loan servicer.
Direct Consolidation Loans have a fixed interest rate. This new interest rate is the weighted average of the interest rates on the loans being consolidated.
To apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan, head over to StudentLoans.gov to complete and submit an application. There is no charge to consolidate your federal student loans.
Please note that if you’re pursuing Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), consolidating your loans will restart your qualifying payment count. Any progress you’ve already made will no longer count. If you’ve already made several qualifying payments, you may want to keep those loans separate from loans you are consolidating.
Direct Loan Consolidation doesn’t apply to private student loans through Conduent Education Services. Private loans aren’t eligible for any federal programs. If you don’t like your private loan servicer, you can refinance through another private lender.
If you choose to consolidate your federal student loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan, you still have access to many repayment options.
Available Repayment Options Include:
- Standard Repayment Plan
- Graduated Repayment Plan
- Extended Repayment Plan
- Income-Driven Repayment Plans
The convenience that comes with consolidating student loans is nice, but being able to choose your own loan servicer is also a plus.
Take time to research before choosing a loan servicer or you may end up with the same issues you have with your current one.
Should I Refinance my Conduent Student Loans?
If you’re working to pay off your student loan debt, you’ve probably wondered if refinancing is a good option. Refinancing your student loans has the potential to save thousands of dollars in interest payments over the life of your loans.
There’s also a risk with refinancing federal student loans because you’ll lose the flexibility and security of federal programs. How can you tell if refinancing your Conduent or ACS student loans makes sense?
Conduent borrowers with private student loans are good candidates for refinancing. If you have federal student loans, though, It’s not as easy to determine. Public loans have access to many programs and protections that are lost when you refinance. This includes:
Income-Driven Repayment Plans
Federal loans offer IDR plans, like Pay As You Earn (PAYE), where monthly payments are based on your income.
Borrowers facing financial hardship may need access to student loan forbearance at some point. This allows you to pause your student loan payments for a specific time period if you can’t afford to pay.
Interest will continue to accrue while loans are in forbearance. Not all private lenders offer forbearance and often it’s more restrictive than federal loan forbearance.
Refinanced loans aren’t eligible for federal loan forgiveness options like PSLF. If you work in the public sector and there’s even a possibility that you qualify for PSLF, you shouldn’t refinance your student loans.
Once you refinance, you can’t gain access to federal protections again. Make sure you are in a position where you won’t need access before you choose to refinance.
How To Refinance Your Conduent Student Loans
Refinancing your student loans is a great way to save money and pay off student loan debt quicker. This is especially true if you can secure a low-interest rate. A good rule of thumb is to refinance if you can lower your rate by one percentage point or more.
What’s the key to getting a lower interest rate? Your credit score is one of the main factors in determining whether you qualify for refinancing or not and the type of rate you’ll receive. Anything you can do to improve your credit will go a long way with private lenders.
Your debt to income ratio is another important factor to consider. Improving your DTI will increase your chances of securing the lowest rate possible.
This can be done by decreasing your debt, increasing your income, and avoiding large purchases or adding new debt.
Improve Your Credit Score
If you have poor credit or fair credit, it might be best to wait until you can improve your credit. The other option is to use a cosigner, such as a spouse or a parent.
Cosigners with excellent credit can help secure refinancing with low rates. Cosigners are financially responsible for your student loan debt if you can’t afford your monthly payments.
Compare Private Lenders
Many private lenders allow you to prequalify, which lets you see what kind of rate you probably would be approved for if you move forward with refinancing. This requires a soft credit pull, which doesn’t negatively affect your credit.
When you’re ready and you’ve found the right private lender, apply for refinancing. Be sure to have all of your information on hand to use when applying, including personal, financial, and loan information. This will help speed up the process, which shouldn’t take more than 30-minutes at the most.
While Conduent no longer services student loans, many borrowers with loan balances from Conduent student loans still exist. Hopefully, you’ve been able to connect with your new loan servicer to continue payments.