New Investigation Reveals Evidence of Widespread Failure and Abuse

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC) released the results of an investigation into the world’s largest student loan company, uncovering new evidence of systemic mismanagement, failure, and abuse. The subject of this investigation, Maximus Federal Services (Maximus), recently replaced scandal-plagued student loan giant Navient Corporation as a principal student loan contractor for the U.S. Department of Education and also operates under the name Aidvantage. The company directly manages student debt held by nearly 13 million borrowers and indirectly serves millions of others, many of whom struggle to make ends meet. In response to the new, shocking report, which offers evidence of misleading and sloppy conduct by the company, CWA and SBPC launched AidvantageWatch—a new project to ensure fair treatment for millions of people with student debt whose loans are now managed by Aidvantage.

The new report, Customer Disservice: Examining Maximus, the Federal Contractor that Just Became the Largest Student Loan Company in the World, is available here:
https://protectborrowers.org/aidvantage-report/

A compendium of exhibits documenting sloppy and potentially unlawful conduct by Maximus is available here:
https://protectborrowers.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Aidvantage-exhibits_final.pdf

“CWA has been raising concerns about Maximus for years, including the harm it has done to its workers and to people who need to access government services,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “We owe it to student loan borrowers, including thousands of CWA members, to hold the company accountable for the troubling findings released in today's report. Government officials who administer these programs should take a closer look at the problems at Maximus when awarding and renewing contracts.”

“When student loan companies cut corners and skirt the law to pad their profits, the most vulnerable people with student debt are always forced to pay the price,” said Mike Pierce, executive director of the SBPC. “Our investigation offers an early warning to regulators and people with student debt: Maximus and Aidvantage are now running the same failed servicing playbook that left millions of Navient borrowers financially bruised and broken. This newly minted student loan giant must change course before it is too late.”

The new report, which reviews court filings, public records, consumer complaints, and narratives provided by individual borrowers spanning nearly a decade, finds that Maximus routinely and profoundly bungled its role as a student loan contractor for the U.S. Department of Education. These findings include evidence of:

  • Sloppy student loan servicing. In the weeks since Maximus first replaced Navient as a principal student loan contractor for the U.S. Department of Education in late 2021, borrowers have reported facing roadblocks when seeking to access their new Aidvantage accounts online, receiving inaccurate information when inquiring about when loan payments will resume, and missing paperwork related to the transfer of loan servicing between these firms.

  • Unfair debt collection practices. Litigation filed on behalf of low-income student loan borrowers alleges that Maximus has violated borrowers’ rights in its role as the sole servicer for student loans in default.

  • Unlawful wage garnishment and improper seizure of public benefits. Maximus also faces litigation alleging it improperly subjected borrowers in default to draconian forced collections measures like the seizure of tax refunds.

The report aims to bring greater transparency and accountability to the federal student loan system by exposing the many roles Maximus plays and the harm done to borrowers.

In response to the findings outlined in this report, CWA and SBPC launched AidvantageWatch, a project to spotlight abuses by the student loan giant and ensure fair treatment for all people with student debt. Borrowers can visit AidvantageWatch to share their experience with Maximus/Aidvantage and to learn more about how to alert regulators and enforcement officials if they encounter deceptive or misleading conduct by the student loan company.