Over 15 years ago, I graduated college with $35,000 of student loan debt. It was a mixture of different types of loans but I was able to consolidate them into a single fixed rate, somewhere in the 3% range, and serviced by ACS Education Services. ACS, short for Affiliated Computer Services, recently changed their name to Conduent but their website looks almost exactly like it did when I last visited back in 2007!
In 2010, Xerox acquired ACS back when ACS was the sole servicer for all student loans made by the federal government. ACS continued to handle a big portion of the portfolio even as the government moved to include additional servicers. Today, the biggest loan servicers are Navient (formerly Sallie Mae) and Fedloan, the sole servicer for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
They've had their fair share of problems.
Just last year, they settled for $2.4 million with the state of Massachusetts. The MA AG said that ACS delayed the processing of income-driven repayment applications, charged excessive late fees, and violated debt collection laws going after borrowers.
Sooo…. if you have a loan with ACS/Conduent and you want to avoid student loan servicing problems, we're here to try to help.
Common ACS/Conduent Servicing Problems
As I mentioned earlier, the website looks like it was built in the late 1990s when the internet was in its infancy. There isn't much you can do about this besides allow yourself more time to complete the tasks you want and avoid hitting the back button. It sounds silly but you have to mold your behavior into the system in front of you.
What's funny is that it looked ancient even back when I was paying my debts off in the mid-2000s! I can't log in anymore but if the public page looks the same, I bet it looks the same behind the scenes. 🙂
So give yourself some time… you never know what issues will crop up.
They Don't Own Your Debt
They're just a servicer so they don't hold the debt, they just act as the intermediary with their ancient website. They're supposed to handle the payments and provide customer service. If you are working towards any special programs, like forgiveness and income based repayment, they used to do that too (Public Service Loan Forgiveness was all transferred to Fedloan though)
If you aren't going the PSLF route, consider refinancing. There are a lot of companies with competitive rates and generous refi cashback bonuses.
ACS Debt Collection Calls
There are a lot of companies with the acronym ACS and some of them are in the lending industry. Some common payday lenders have ACS as their acronyms, like American Cash Services or Ace Cash Services, so if someone calls and claims to be “ACS,” dig deeper to find out who they are. (plus, ACS is now Conduent so I'd expect them to be using that name now)
As recently as January of 2017, Washington State's Department of Financial Institutions warned their residents about an American Cash Services USA payday loan collection scam.
The student loan servicer ACS did settle with Massachusetts over bad debt collection practices, but presumably, they'll have cleaned that up by now.
If all else fails, contac them directly to get the story straight from them.
How to Contact ACS Education / Conduent
If someone calls and says they're from ACS or Conduent, tell them you'll call back. Then call them directly yourself to sort it out.
The website is https://www.conduenteducation.com (their old website, https://acs-education.com, will redirect you to the new name too) and the phone number to call will depend on your loan type.
If it is a Federal Family Education Student Loan, including Stafford (GSL), PLUS/Graduate PLUS, Consolidation, or SLS (Supplemental Student Loans):
- Mail: Conduent, P.O. Box 7051, Utica, NY 13504-7051
- Call: 1-800-835-4611 Monday through Friday 8:00 am – 11:00pm EST
- Contact Form: link
If it is a Campus-Based Student Loans, include Federal Perkins Student Loan Program, Nursing Student Loans (NSL), Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL), Institutional Loan Programs and Tuition Billing:
- Mail: Conduent, Campus Products and Services, P.O. Box 7060, Utica, NY 13504-7060
- Call: (800) 826-4470 (or check your billing statement) Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. CST
- Contact Form: link
You Can Refinance
If you're looking for other options, you can always get lower rates through refinancing.