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How Much Do I Really Owe? A Quick Guide to Assessing Your Student Loan Debt

how much do I owe on student loansAs you’re transitioning from college into the “real world” it’s easy to forget about your student loans. You’ve got a new life to start, a career to enter, and a world of possibilities to explore. Unfortunately, your loans haven’t forgotten about you, and you may find yourself wondering, “How much do I owe on my student loans?”

Many loans offer a six-month grace period after graduation before the first installment payment comes due. However, it’s important that you understand what (and who) you owe before the first invoice arrives in your inbox. Otherwise your carefully planned budget, and plans to secure a financial future may be upset by unplanned for monthly expenses.

Get the Facts

Even if you’ve graduated, there’s nothing wrong with contacting the student loan office at your alma mater. They should be able to provide you with a breakdown of your various loans that you can use as a starting point.

Federal Loans

If your student loan office is unavailable you can also access information through your My Federal Student Aid or the National Student Loan Data System(NSLDS).

It stores information so you can check it when you need to. It can also tell you which loans are subsidized or unsubsidized. In either case, ​you will need an FSA ID to log in.

Private Loans

Unfortunately, the Federal government can’t help you with your private loans. If you’re unable to acquire the information from your student loan office, you may be able to find the information reflected on your credit report. You can access this information for free using annualcreditreport.com.

Many student loan services have online portals. Once you know who is servicing your loan, sign up for access.  This will allow you to monitor the progress of your loan payments and set up automatic deductions for your monthly payments

Be aware, your loan may be serviced by different companies throughout its duration, so keep an eye on your account to make sure that it’s being paid in full to the correct company.

Start a Spreadsheet

Most students have more than one student loan. In fact, you may have a wide range of different loans from both Federal and Private lenders. Try to gather as much information about your loans as possible. This should include:

  • Account Number
  • Amount Owed
  • Monthly Payment
  • Interest Rate
  • Payment Terms

Another option is to use a service like StudentLoanHero.com. They provide you with helpful tools and information to track your student loans and offer advice on how to repay. Just keep in mind that the site is free because it is sponsored by private lenders, take all information offered with a grain of salt.

Looking for more help understanding and managing your student loans? Schedule an appointment with one of our student loan counselors today or call us at 800-920-2262.

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