How Much Do I Owe In Student Loans?
If you don’t know how much exactly you owe on your student loans, you’re not alone. Throughout your college career, those small loan disbursements—whether they were paid to you or to your financial aid office—can add up quickly.
But knowing the numbers (rather than assuming the worst or hoping for the best) can help you breathe easier and pay off your debt faster. Knowing your balance will also help you determine how much your monthly payment will be if you consolidate or apply for an income-driven repayment plan.
The following information will help you learn how to check and keep track of your student loan balance, whether you’ve just graduated, you’re years into paying off your student loans, or even if you’re still finishing up school.
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Check Your Federal Loan Balance Online
The National Student Loan Data System NSLDS is your new best friend if you want to keep track of how much you owe in federal student loans. The NSLDS is a central database that keeps track of all of your federal loan information so that you can access it at any time.
The NSLDS site differentiates between subsidized and unsubsidized loans so that you can tell which is which. If you’ve consolidated your loans, both your original loans and your new consolidation loan or loans will show up.
Registering Your FSA ID
To sign up and log into the NSLDS, you’ll need to enter your Federal Student Aid ID. If you haven’t registered an FSA ID yet, you’ll need a valid email address and your social security number. You will have to set up challenge questions with answers and go through a few other profile setup steps before you can access your information.
The NSLDS does not list:
- Private loan balances.
- Older loans (i.e. loans borrowed in the 1908s), even those that are still in repayment.
- Medical or nursing school loans.
Who Is My Loan Servicer?
A loan servicer acts as a third party, or middle-man, between you and your lender. The servicer manages your loan, and any payments you make go through the servicer first. You have a loan servicer whether your loan is federal or private.
It’s useful to know who your loan servicer is and how to contact them, as this is who you’ll need to contact if you want to change payment plans or apply deferment or forbearance.
Federal Loan Servicers
If you need to learn more about a loan listed on the NSLDS, or you have a loan that’s federal but not listed on the NSLDS, you can contact your loan servicer for more information.
You do not get to choose your own federal loan servicer: instead, your loan servicer was assigned to your loan by the U.S. Department of Education.
The following list shows the various loan servicers used by the Department of Education to manage federal loans, along with their contact information.
- CornerStone 1-800-663-1662
- FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA) 1-800-699-2908
- Granite State – GSMR 1-888-556-0022
- Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc. 1-800-236-4300
- HESC/Edfinancial 1-855-337-6884
- MOHELA 1-888-866-4352
- Navient 1-800-722-1300
- Nelnet 1-888-486-4722
- OSLA Servicing 1-866-264-976
Private Loan Servicers
Finding and contacting your private loan servicer can be more complicated. Your first step will be to check your credit reports.
Your credit report can also show you your federal loan balances, but this information is more readily available using the NSLDS website. You can also ascertain who your private student loan servicer is by looking at your most recent student loan statement. Common servicers of private student loans include Nelnet, Sallie Mae, and Navient.
Getting the Most From Your Servicer
Once you know who your servicer is—whether your loans are federal or private—you can go to your servicer’s website to create an account. There, you’ll be able to manage payments, as well as track your balance. Often, you can get a small interest rate deduction by enrolling in automatic payments, which will make repaying your loan that much easier.
Because your student loan servicer is assigned to you as a middle man, it’s important to be aware that your servicer may change, meaning your balance may be managed by multiple servicers over the course of its lifetime.
Any time you think your loan servicer may have changed, you can contact your previous loan servicer to find out, visit NSLDS, check your credit report, or check your most recent loan statement.
What If I’m Still in School?
In some instances, you may need to check your student loan balance while you’re still in school.
Current School Year
If you need to check a loan which applies to your current year, contact the student financial aid office at your school. The financial aid office can inform you about your loan status, cancellation within 120 days of disbursement, and the amount and timing of your loan disbursement.
Past School Years
If you’re still in school but you need information about a past year’s student loan, you’ll need to contact your loan servicer.
Know What Your Student Loan Balance is
If you’re not sure how much you owe in student loans, you’re not alone—far from it. Between subsidized and unsubsidized loans, private and federal, those $2,000 and $3,000 loan disbursements can add up. And while you’re in school, it’s unlikely you were keeping a record. But knowing your student loan balance is the first step to paying it off, so If you don’t know how much you owe, now is the time to use the resources provided here to find out.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.