Your one-stop-shop for managing your federal student aid is StudentLoans.Gov. This site is the Federal Student Aid website of the Department of Education (DOE) and the epicenter of all things related to servicing your federal student loans.
Who Should Use StudentLoans.gov?
The DOE runs the website StudentLoans.gov in order to help two groups of borrowers:
- Graduates who are out of school and in the process of repaying their debt
- People who are looking to obtain new loans, which can include students currently enrolled and their parents
How Do I Get Started on StudentLoans.gov?
The first thing you need is an FSA ID in order to log in to the site. You can follow these steps in order to obtain one:
- Create a FSA ID from https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm.
- Verify that you are at least 13 years old.
- Create a unique username and password, and provide your email address. The FSA ID is your electronic signature for when you apply for financial aid and sign loan promissory notes and other legal documents.
- Provide your name, Social Security Number, date of birth, and contact information, and answers to the challenge questions.
- Review your information before accepting the terms and conditions on the site.
- Check the email account that was used to create your FSA ID. You’ll receive a secure code so verify your email on the site and can choose to use your email address moving forward rather than your username.
The FSA ID may be used to file a FAFSA right away. There may be a delay of a few days before the FSA ID can be used to login to the other U.S. Department of Education websites. Make sure you know the FAFSA deadlines.
4 Reasons You Should Use StudentLoans.gov
You can do several different things on StudentLoans.gov. Here’s what you can do and how to do it.
You Can Apply for Loan Consolidation
If you want to consolidate your federal loans into one loan, you can do this at StudentLoans.gov. It takes about 30-60 minutes to complete the application to consolidate into a Direct Consolidation Loan. In order to fill out the application, you’ll need:
- FSA ID
- Personal information
- Details of your loans, including:
- Loan type
- Full name and
- Loan type
- Full name and mailing address of the loan holder or the servicer
- Account number (found on your statement)
- Estimated amount needed to pay off the loan
The loans will be consolidated by the tool to show your new balance and interest rate. The rate is calculated from an average of your previous loans with a slight round-up. You can delay your loans until your grace period ends and can also delay your consolidation anywhere from one to 9 months.
When your application is finished, you can select the servicer of your loan. You can choose Nelnet, Navient, FedLoan Servicing or Great Lakes Educational Services. It’s a good idea to do research on each servicer and find out other student’s experiences with them so you can make an informed decision.
Your Parents Can Apply for a Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students Loan
Parents will find StudentLoans.gov useful because they need to access the site in order to apply for a PLUS Loan. This is a 20-minute process and the school will ultimately determine the application decision.
The Direct PLUS Loan Application is supplemental information required for your application for a Direct PLUS Loan through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. The information that you submit will be sent to the school you select and they will use the information to determine your eligibility.
Before you can receive your loan, you need to complete a Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note which explains all of the terms and conditions related to your loan. This is a legally binding agreement to repay your loans.
When you complete the application, you can:
- Tell the school to use loan funds for expenses beyond tuition and other fees
- Decide who gets the balance of the loan credit (if any remains)
- Request a deferment while your child is enrolled in school
- Request an additional six-month deferment after you child graduates
You will need an FSA ID, all of your child’s information, and your employer’s information to complete the PLUS Loan application.
You Can Conduct Mandatory Counseling
Undergraduate, graduate and professional students and their parents can use the site to conduct entrance and exit counseling. This is meant for people who have never borrowed federal finances before or for those who are about to leave school.
Another suggested resource is Finance Awareness Counseling, which provides tools and information to help you understand your loans and how to manage your finances.
You can complete it online within 20 to 30 minutes. Some of the topics include:
- Understand Your Loans
- Manage Your Spending
- Plan to Repay
- Avoid Default
- Make Finances a Priority
Applicants for PLUS Loans who have poor credit can attend PLUS Credit Counseling, which also takes only 20 to 30 minutes.
StudentLoans.gov is also the place to complete your master promissory note (MPN), which is a legal document that states your promise to repay your loans. The MPN also explains the terms and conditions of your loan. The MPN enables you to receive federal loans for 10 years and takes about a half hour to complete.
You Can Choose an Income-Driven Repayment Plan
StudentLoans.Gov has a Repayment Estimator that lets you add all of your loans and your annual income to get an estimate of your monthly payments and total amounts paid on the loans. You’ll also receive a list of repayment plans that you’re eligible for. This is helpful if you’re looking to switch to an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan and want to complete an IDR application.
The Basics of IDR
The federal government has four IDR plans that serve to limit your monthly payment to a percentage of your income.It takes about 10 minutes to complete the application. You can find which plan is right for you from the following:
- Income-Based Repayment (IBR) — generally your repayments are 10% of your discretionary income if you’re a new borrower on or after July 1, 2014, but never more than the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan amount; and generally 15% if you’re not a new borrower.
- Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) — your payment is the lesser of 20% of your discretionary income or what you would repay on a repayment plan with a fixed payment over the course of 12 years, adjusted according to your income.
- Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment (REPAYE) – generally 10% of your income.
- Pay As You Earn Repayment (PAYE) – generally 10% of your discretionary income, but never more than the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan amount
Your payments will be affected not only by your income, but also by your family size. If you file a joint tax return, then your payment may be determined by your combined income. That’s why IDR applications needs to be cosigned by your spouse, which you can also do on StudentLoans.gov. Your spouse isn’t promising to repay the loan, though, they are simply entering a Social Security number and information to complete the IDR request.
You’ll also receive information about Projected Loan Forgiveness, which means that under an IDR plan you may have the remaining balance of your loan forgiven after 20 or 25 years of repayment.
For Current IDR Borrowers
StudentLoans.gov is the resource where you can:
- Request a reduction in your monthly payment due to income or family size change
- Switch to a different IDR plan
- Provide your updated income and family size so you can recertify your IDR plan
You’ll need to recertify your loans annually and can request a lower payment or different plan at any time. You information needs to be current in the system and the website will prompt you to update it if it’s not.
How to Get Help on StudentLoans.gov
StudentLoans.gov is a useful tool when you’re in need of some direction and answers to questions about your federal student loans. It can direct you to the correct places for certain answers, such as:
Contact Your Financial Aid Office about:
- Loan Status
- Loan Cancellation
- Loan Disbursement Amounts and Dates
Contact Your Loan Servicer About:
- Loan Balance
- Loan Repayment
The site also has a Forms Center where you can download any forms you need, including loans for repayment, deferment, forbearance, discharge and forgiveness, and loan rehabilitation. You can also speak with someone through the live chat function or call the number at 1-800-557-7394. Their FAQ page is also comprehensive and has answers to lots of the answers.
StudentLoans.gov can be a great resource for you to take a proactive step in managing your loans by educating yourself and finding a repayment plan that works for you. Having everything in one place makes it easy to get the answers you need so you can confidently and comfortably repay your loans.
Compare the Best Student Loan Refinance Rates
Here are our top student loan refinance picks for 2019
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Student Debt Relief Loan Refinancing Advertiser Disclosure
College Ave: College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.
1 – The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as the borrower or cosigner, if applicable, enrolls in auto-pay and authorizes our loan servicer to automatically deduct your monthly payments from a valid bank account via Automated Clearing House (“ACH”). The rate reduction applies for as long as the monthly payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account and is suspended during periods of forbearance and certain deferments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
2 – $5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees. Information advertised valid as of 04/26/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
3 – This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
ELFI: Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. To qualify for refinancing or student loans consolidation through ELFI, you must have at least $15,000 in student loan debt and must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved post-secondary institution.
LendKey: Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
CommonBond: Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate.
Splash Financial: Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval.com
Earnest: To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest’s fixed-rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with autopay) to 7.89% APR (with autopay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with autopay) to 7.27% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms of 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 0.26% and 5.03% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 23, 2019 and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay Discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/23/19. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice.
Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 303 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, e-mail us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.