When I graduated from college, I had no idea how to find out how much student loan debt I had. I knew that all of my small $2,000 and $3,000 loans that I took out here and there added up to something, but I wasn’t sure exactly how much.
In my case, I called my financial aid office and pulled my credit report on AnnualCreditReport.com to get the exact amount of money I owed on my student loans.
But since then I’ve learned there is a far better way to find out how much student loan debt you are in. It’s called the National Student Loan Data System, or NSLDS.
The NSLDS is a central database that keeps track of how much federal student loan debt a student has. It stores all of your information so you can access it at any time. It also breaks down the type of loan you have so you can differentiate between subsidized and unsubsidized loans.
If this sounds like you, know you’re not alone. However, it’s now time to find out that number because knowing how many student loans you have is just the first step to getting out of student loan debt. You have to know your debt number before you make a plan to get out of it as soon as possible.
Here’s more on how the NSLDS works and how you can access this database to look up your student loans.
How Does the NSLDS Get My Student Loan Information?
Colleges and universities across the country send in your information to the NSLDS. The NSLDS will show each loan you took out including the date you took out it and the amount. If you consolidated or paid off a loan, you will see $0 underneath the outstanding principal amount.
I consolidated my loans after I graduated, and I can see each loan that I took out and the new consolidated loans that are two larger amounts, around $16,000 each respectively. You can see my totals in the screenshot below, as well as the $0 amount on the loans that were consolidated.
As you can see, once you are logged in to the NSLDS, you can get a picture of your total amount of federal student loans. The information in the NSLDS is considered accurate so you should be able to determine your total debt load to the dollar amount.
Below is what the home page of the website looks like so you can make sure you are in the right place. Since you have to enter your social security number to get access to your information, it’s important you find the correct site. Make sure your URL ends in .gov to double check that you’re in the right location.
What Do I Need to Sign Up?
If you’ve never logged in before, the process is really simple. I logged in for the first time in a long time to write this article, and it only took me a few minutes to get access to my student loan information.
You will need a valid e-mail address, your social security number, and you will need to set up challenge questions (which you will use if you ever forget your username or password in the future.)
To log in for the first time, click “Financial Aid Review” on the home page.
When you get to the login screen, click the tab that says “Create An FSA ID.”
Once you do this, you will have to follow a few steps before you can get access to your information. Once you have access, you can log in as many times as you want to continually check in on your student loan amounts.
You should use the NSLDS to get an accurate picture of your student loan debt. When you start paying them off, log in frequently to see your balance drop. This is a good place to visit to keep you motivated and show how much more you have to go before you pay off your debt.
Ultimately, as I said previously, the first step when paying off any type of debt is just to know how much is there. Trust me, I know it’s not fun to look at the amounts. I don’t like seeing my $32,000 balance at all. However, I know that knowledge is power and now that I accurately know how much I have to pay back, I’m one step closer to accomplishing my goal of being debt free.
Once you find your federal student loans, you can use Student Loan Hero to track your loans as you work to pay them off.
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1 Important Disclosures for 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 will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). 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 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years 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 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, 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 08/21/18. 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 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for 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.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
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|2.80% – 6.22%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
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|2.57% – 8.17%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|