In addition to keeping in touch with your college classmates and friends, you also need to keep track of your student loan balance. With the average college graduate owing up a record amount in student loans, you don’t want to miss a payment as the interest will accrue quickly. It pays to take a few minutes to find out how much you owe in student loans to each lender.
How to Find Out How Much You Owe in Student Loans
If you borrowed from several different lenders for your student loans, this process could be a little tricky. The best place to start is by gathering your original loan documents. If you didn’t keep these documents, you could also try these other options below.
Federal Student Loans
It is rather easy to find your federal student loans balances. All you need to do is visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) that records all your federal loans, grants, and aid receipts.
It doesn’t matter who services your federal loan, you will find your balance, interest rate, and payment status here. To get started, you will need your FSA user id number. If you don’t have one, they are easy to obtain from the Department of Education.
If you have already started making federal student loan payments, the data can be delayed up to 120 days from the time you make a payment to when it is reported to the NSLDS. Don’t worry, if you overpay your total loan principal and interest balance, you will receive a refund for the overpayment amount. If you know who your loan servicer is, then you can use your login credentials (hopefully you didn’t forget!) directly with your servicer’s student loan portal to find your balance.
Private Student Loans
The process of checking your student loans can be challenging. This is because the original lender could have transferred it to a servicer before it even entered repayment status. When it comes to finding your private loan balances, check with your original lender or the loan servicer if you have that information.
You can contact the original lender by phone or accessing your online account. If your loans have been transferred to a servicer, they can tell you the name of the servicing company and their contact information. Once you create an online account with the servicer, you will be able to view your balance, interest rate, payment status, and schedule future payments.
When you have already received a piece of mail from your lender stating your loan has been transferred to a servicing company, go directly to the servicer. They are the ones that will collect your student loan payments and report them to the credit bureaus.
Another option to find your student loan balance is to view your credit report. Each lender or servicer should report your federal and private student loan activity to the main credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) even if your loans are still in deferment status.
You can pull your credit report from each bureau for free once a year from certain websites. It is a good idea to look at your report from multiple different sources. In some cases, student loan lenders and servicers do not always report your loans to all three credit bureaus. If you only view one bureau report, there is a decent chance that a few of your loans will be overlooked.
Your College Financial Aid Office
One final place to inquire is your college financial aid office. Most offices record the name, dollar amount, and date of receipt for each student loan they receive. This is partially so they can keep records that you are paid in full for each semester and also to report borrowing statistics.
Your financial aid office won’t be able to tell you how much you currently owe based on accrued interest or any payments you might have made, but they can tell you how much the original check was written out for.
Not knowing how much you owe on your student loans can be overwhelming. By gathering this information as soon as possible, preferably before graduation, it will be one less thing to do after you move away and enter the workforce. The good thing is that even if you start the process of finding out how much you owe in student loans after graduation, most of the information can be easily accessed online or by making a phone call.