How Do I View My Student Loans

Last Updated on May 18, 2022

If you’re a student, you know the importance of having your loans paid on time. But sometimes life gets in the way and it’s hard to keep up with your payments.

The good news is that there are ways to make sure you never miss a payment—and that’s what we’re here for!

Here’s how to check your student loans:

1) Log into My Student Loan Hero, or MSLH, which is a free service that allows you to track your debt and make sure it’s being taken care of properly. (If you don’t have an account yet, sign up here.)

2) Click on “Loan Details” under “My Accounts.” This will take you directly to your loan information page where all the details about your current loan balance will be displayed along with any past due amounts if applicable.

3) If there are any issues with your account such as missing payments or late fees then these will also be displayed here as well so that you can address them immediately if needed!

How to check your student loan balance | Fox Business

How Do I View My Student Loans

Whether you are in the midst of your college career, just graduated or have been out of school for a while, knowing the most up-to-date information on the total amount of student loans you borrowed and how much you now owe is important for many reasons.

Knowing your student loan balances and payment obligations – such as due dates and the minimum amount due every month – will play a big part in your overall financial wellness. For example, it is important to understand that the loan amounts originally borrowed are likely not the same amount owed over time due to the type, length and terms of your loans, particularly federal student loans where unpaid interest accrued and was added to the principal, called capitalization.

For recent graduates, depending on your specific financial situation, knowing current information about grace period policies gives you time to develop an overall financial plan that works for your budget. For borrowers who are several years out of school and into a career, keeping documentation about each student loan’s balance and repayment schedule can help you manage monthly payments along with other debt and expenses.

Additionally, getting a clear understanding of the makeup of your student loan portfolio is beneficial if you have taken out a mix of federal student loans and private student loans through the years.

For borrowers looking to keep track of how much they owe and who to contact about their student loan balances, as well as other critical information, here are some helpful resources.

Where to Find How Much You Owe in Federal Student Loans
For federal student loans, the best place for borrowers to start is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Student Loan Data System, or NSLDS. Once you create a Federal Student Aid ID – or log in using your existing FSA ID – you get secure access to this national database of information about federal student loans and grants awarded to you under Title IV of the federal Higher Education Act.

Due to the sensitivity of personal information on the site, keep your username and password in a safe location, such as a secure password file.

The NSLDS centralized listing is a one-stop resource for the complete life cycle of all federal student loans you took out, from approval through disbursement, repayment, deferment, delinquency and payoff, when applicable.

The portal will display how much you borrowed, the type of each loan and interest rate, payment history and the current servicer or holder for each loan, meaning the company that currently administers your account and receives your payments. The database also provides information about any federal grants you received while in school.

The system receives data from schools, agencies that guarantee the loans, the federal direct loan program and other Department of Education programs.

Where to Find Out What You Owe in Private Student Loans
While there is no centralized website for private student loan information, there are resources that can help these borrowers understand how much they owe.

Start with your credit report, which tracks current and past credit obligations including private and federal student loans. At AnnualCreditReport.com, you can get a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three national credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Each report will list the amounts you borrowed and the loan servicers or holders, as well as your credit score calculated by that bureau.

fafsa student loans

Every college-bound person and their parents need to know how the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process works. Some may dismiss the idea of applying for financial aid for college because they think they make too much money to qualify. But regardless of their family earnings, they may be eligible for some form of financial assistance, including federal, state, and school-based aid and merit-based scholarships.

In fact, it makes sense for almost all families with a college-bound kid to fill out the FAFSA.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
Most families are eligible for some form of federal financial aid for college.
Students with exceptional financial need may be eligible for federal grants and subsidized loans.
Other students and parents may be eligible for non-need-based aid, such as unsubsidized federal loans.
How FAFSA Works
The primary purpose of the FAFSA is to determine how much financial aid a student qualifies for, including both need-based and non-need-based aid. It determines eligibility for federal need-based grants including the Pell Grant and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG); subsidized federal student loans, which are based on need; unsubsidized federal student loans, which most students qualify for regardless of need; federal work-study; state-based financial aid, including grants, scholarships, and loans; school-based financial aid, including need-based grants and scholarships, and school-based merit aid (since many schools require the FAFSA to be on file before any aid awards are distributed).

To determine a family’s financial need, the FAFSA asks a series of questions about the parents’ and student’s income and assets as well as other factors, such as how many children there are in the family. It then comes up with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC).1

The confusingly named Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be renamed the Student Aid Index (SAI) in July 2023 to clarify its meaning. It does not indicate how much the student must pay the college. It is used by the school to calculate how much student aid the applicant is eligible to receive.2
The FAFSA is the official form that students or their families use to apply for financial assistance for college from the federal government. States, individual colleges and universities, and private scholarship programs rely on the information provided in the application as well.

In terms of assets, the FAFSA assumes that 20% of a student’s assets and 5.64% of the parents’ assets should be available for spending in any one college year.3 Those assets include bank accounts and investments but excludes the value of retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and annuities. Any equity in the family home is also excluded.4

The information you supply on the FAFSA determines whether you qualify for need-based aid, non-need-based aid, or some combination of the two.

If you aren’t ready to fill out the FAFSA itself, you can get an estimate of your EFC and likelihood of receiving financial aid by using the office of Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Estimator.5

Here are some of the programs that require filling out the FAFSA.

Need-Based Financial Aid
Federal Pell Grants
Grants are the most attractive type of financial aid because they do not need to be repaid. Pell Grants, the main federal grants for college, are intended for students with “exceptional financial need.” They are primarily awarded to undergraduates, but some teacher certification programs are also eligible. The maximum award is $6,895 for the 2022–23 award year (July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023).6 A college or university’s financial aid office determines how much money students qualify to receive, based on their family’s EFC and the school’s cost of attendance (COA).

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
These grants also do not need to be repaid, but they are only available at certain schools. The amounts range between $100 and $4,000 per year.7 As with Pell Grants, these supplemental grants are meant for students with few other financial resources.

Federal Direct Subsidized Loans
These loans are subsidized by the government, which means that will not be required to pay interest on them while you are in school and for a grace period of six months after you graduate. Loan amounts that can be subsidized range from $3,500 to $12,500 per year, depending on your year in school and whether you are considered a dependent or independent student as defined by the office of Federal Student Aid. These subsidized loans are not available for graduate study.8

Federal Work-Study
The federal work-study program makes paid part-time jobs available through participating colleges and universities. Both undergraduate and graduate students may be eligible.9

Federal loans, whether subsidized or unsubsidized, tend to be less costly than private loans and have more flexible repayment options.
Non-Need-Based Financial Aid
Direct Unsubsidized Loans
Unsubsidized loans are similar to their subsidized counterparts with one big exception: The government doesn’t pay the loan interest while the student is in school or during a six-month grace period afterward. If students or their parents don’t pay the interest during this time period, it will be added to the principal of the loan.8

Schools can offer these loans as part of a financial aid package regardless of a family’s financial situation. Dependent students are eligible for a maximum of $31,000 in unsubsidized loans over their undergraduate years unless their parents are ineligible for federal PLUS loans, in which case the limit may be higher.10

Federal PLUS Loans
These loans are intended for parents or graduate students. They aren’t subsidized by the government, so the interest that accrues during the college years will be added to the principal if it isn’t paid while the student is in school.

Teacher Education Access for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants
Students who are training to become teachers can qualify for these grants—up to $4,000 per year (as of 2021–2022)—even if they don’t meet need-based criteria.11 To qualify, the student must take certain classes and, within eight years of graduation, have worked for at least four years in an elementary or secondary school or educational service agency that serves low-income families. These grants don’t have to be repaid unless the student fails to fulfill the requirements, in which case the grant is converted into a direct unsubsidized loan.

What Is the Point of a FAFSA?
The U.S. Department of Education uses the FAFSA application to determine a student’s eligibility for need-based federal financial aid for college based upon their financial situation. Federal financial aid may include federal grants, scholarships, work-study, and/or loans.

Is the FAFSA a Loan or Free Money?
The FAFSA application is not a loan. It is simply an application that you fill out in order to determine your eligibility for receiving a federal loan. There are three main types of financial aid that a student may be deemed eligible for after completing a FAFSA application. Some of this money is free money, some must be earned through work, and some must be repaid.12

Who Qualifies for a FAFSA?
The most general eligibility requirements to qualify for the various forms of federal student aid include that you have financial need, are a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, and are enrolled in an eligible degree or certificate program at a college or career school. However, there are more eligibility requirements you must meet to qualify for federal student aid and these requirements are specific, based on the type of aid. The majority of students are eligible to receive some type of financial aid from the federal government to help pay for college or career school. The age of the student, race, and field of study are not taken into account when determining their eligibility.13

When Should I Fill Out My FAFSA for 2021–2022?
To be considered for federal student aid for the 2021–2022 award year, you needed to complete a FAFSA form between Oct. 1, 2020, and 11:59 p.m. central time (CT) on June 30, 2022.14

The Bottom Line
Most families—regardless of how much they earn or have accumulated in assets—will find it useful to fill out FAFSA. If it turns out that they are ineligible for free money in the form of grants or scholarships, they are still likely to be eligible for non-need-based aid in the form of direct unsubsidized loans from the federal government. Federal student loans typically have more favorable terms than loans from private lenders and offer a variety of flexible repayment options.

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ARTICLE SOURCES

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Related Terms
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the key to getting grants, scholarships, work-study, and loans to help pay for college. more
Federal Direct Loan Program
The Federal Direct Loan Program is a federal program that provides low-interest loans to post-secondary students and their parents. more
FAFSA Award Letter
An award letter is the FAFSA documentation sent from a college or university to the student that details how much financial support the student is eligible for. more
What Is the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA)?
The Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965 is a federal law that created financial assistance programs for post-secondary students. more
Cost of Attendance (COA)
Cost of attendance (COA) at a college includes tuition, room and board, fees, and other expenses. The total is used to calculate financial aid needs. more
Education Loan
An education loan is a sum of money borrowed to finance college or school-related expenses while pursuing an academic degree. Education loans can be obtained from the government or through private-sector lending sources.

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