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You’ve left college and are now the proud owner of student loans. Unfortunately, student loans don’t come with an owner’s manual – so you might be feeling kind of clueless about what comes next.
You might be asking yourself some questions: What’s the easiest way to manage my student loans? How can I see all my loans in one place? Where can track and ultimately pay them all off?
These are common questions recent and not-so-recent graduates might have about their education debt. Let’s start by reviewing ways to find your student loans, and once you’ve located them all, how to manage your repayment .
Many students take out a student loan or two each semester while they’re in school. That means you will likely have several student loans by the time you leave school.
However, transitioning from college to the real world can be a busy and chaotic process. Between applying for jobs, starting a career or moving to a new city, it can be all too easy to lose track of student loans.
Here’s how you can locate your student loans and make sure you’ve found them all.
Before you leave college, reach out to your financial aid office. It can give you a report of the federal student loans you borrowed there since it is in charge of disbursing those loans to students.
However, keep in mind that if you attended multiple schools and transferred, your financial aid office might not have records of loans you borrowed at other colleges.
You should also make sure the financial aid office has the most up-to-date contact information for you (including a non-student email address).
Closely watch your email and mail for notifications from student loan servicers. They will reach out to you with updates.
For instance, they should contact you to let you know when your post-college student loan grace period is up and when you should begin making payments.
If you lose track of even one student loan, it could go into default – which can add big fees to your student loan debt and destroy your credit.
If you’re not receiving correspondence from your lender or loan servicer, electronic or otherwise, they may not have your up-to-date contact information. To find your loan holder and correct this error, try the following step.
To access your loans via this site, log in with your FSA ID and click “Manage Loans.”
As before, the new setup (a stepping stone to the Next Gen student loan servicing platform), will help you keep track of all your federal loans. The site will also include the following information:
- Current balance and interest rate of each loan
- Status of each loan, including whether it is current or overdue on payments
- Type of student loan, such as subsidized or unsubsidized
- Student loan servicer that holds each loan
The FSA website is the best way to see all your federal student loans, but it won’t list any private student debt you might have. To see these student loans, you can request your free annual credit report.
Your credit report will include the following information:
- All the student loans you have, including both private and federal student loans.
- The lender or student loan servicer that holds each loan. You should also be able to see if a student loan was transferred or sold to a new servicer.
- The student loan’s initial balance and most recent balance.
- Payment history, including any missed payments and the date of the most recent payment on the loan.
While a credit report will likely list all your student loans, there are no guarantees. You might want to pull reports from all three major credit bureaus to be sure no loans are missed.
Although finding all your student loans may take only a few days, repaying them may take 10 years or longer. How can you track and manage your student loans in the meantime?
You might start by inputting your loan details into a spreadsheet — perhaps like the downloadable Excel sheet used by a borrower who paid off $15,000 in debt — and tracking your balance from month to month.
Once you’ve got your loans organized, consider the following steps, too …
- Log into the FSA’s loan simulator
- Figure out your own student loan needs and goals
- Explore different student loan strategies
By inputting information about yourself and your financial situation, you can evaluate different federal loan repayment plans and options, including direct loan consolidation.
Unfortunately, there’s no similar tool that plug into all banks and could collect all your private student loans. You can employ our student loan calculators, however, to explore different possibilities and compare outcomes.
If you’re considering postponing your repayment to focus on finding a job, for example, you could figure the cost of accruing interest on your debt with this calculator:
Student Loan Deferment Calculator
Ultimately, finding a repayment plan that works for you depends on your financial situation and your repayment personality.
That’s why it’s important to figure out your student loan goals. Ask yourself:
- Do I want to pay off my debt as quickly as possible?
- Are there other financial goals I should put before student loan repayment?
- Are my student loan payments affordable right now?
- Can I refinance my student loans to lower my interest rate?
For example, if you work in public service and don’t make much money, you might want to pursue the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Or if you make a decent income and can afford to pay extra on student loans, you might be more focused on paying them off.
As you think through your loans, income and other financial factors, you can identify the plan of attack that best fits your situation.
The nice thing about the tools above is they take the focus off doing math and place it on creating a strategy that works for you.
With so much information out there and so many decisions to make, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Don’t let fear about your student loan situation paralyze you and prevent you from making decisions that will make your life easier in the long run.
With a little bit of ingenuity, hard work and help from Student Loan Hero, you can do more than manage your student loans — you can conquer them.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.89% – 6.66%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.09%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 5.64%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.98% – 8.55%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews! |
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
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. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of October 1, 2020.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of September 9, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 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 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.79% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.64% 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 July 31, 2020, 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 7/31/2020. 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 [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2020 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.
5 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.
Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of 5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.
As of 10/15/2020 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.98% APR to 8.55% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.99% APR to 8.77% Fixed APR with AutoPay.