The dreaded question of every college graduate: “How much do I owe in student loans?”
With the typical graduate having up to 12 different federal and private student loans, it can be difficult to keep track of them all. But finding out exactly how much you owe is essential for managing — and paying off — your debt.
In this post:
- Find out how much you owe in student loans
- How to find your federal student loan balance
- How to find your private student loan balance
Find out how much you owe in student loans
When you took out your student loans, you agreed to borrow a set amount and to repay it with interest. Your interest rate can cause your loan balance to grow over time, so you could end up owing thousands more than you originally borrowed.
To make things even more confusing, your loans can sometimes change hands. Some lenders will sell your loans or transfer them to other loan servicers, so who you originally had as a loan servicer may no longer be the right one. Your loan servicer is who you make payments to and go to for questions, so it’s important to figure out who your current servicer is to repay your debt.
So if you know you have student loans, but aren’t sure who your loan servicer is or how much your balance is, here’s what you need to know about finding both federal and private student loan balances.
How to find your federal student loan balance
If you have federal student loans, there are a couple of different ways to track down your balance.
1. Use the National Student Loan Data System
When you enroll into a college or university, the school’s administration will send your loan information to the NSLDS. The database also pulls information from loan servicers and government agencies, so it’s a comprehensive outline of all federal student aid you’ve received.
To find your federal student loan balance on NSLDS:
- Create an account with a Federal Student Aid ID and sign in
- Check the list of all of the federal student loans under your name, including the original amount, current balance, interest rate, payment status, and loan servicer
- Visit your loan servicer’s website to create an account, make payments online, and ask any questions you may have
While the NSLDS is useful, there are some limitations:
- Not always up to date: Information on the NSLDS can be as much as 120 days old, so it may not be the most up to date view of your loans.
- Not all loans are listed: The NSLDS only contains information about Title-IV eligible loans and grants, so if you took out other federal loans — such as loans for medical or nursing school programs — they won’t show up on the NSLDS. Private student loans also won’t be listed.
2. Contact your school’s financial aid office
If you have federal loans that don’t show up on the NSLDS, another option is to contact your school’s financial aid office. The staff there can look up your past loan information, including what you originally borrowed and who the loan servicer was. With that information, you can contact the servicer to get your current loan balance.
How to find your private student loan balance
Because the NSLDS is only for federal loans, your private student loans won’t show up in the database. If you refinanced any federal loans, those won’t show up either because once you refinance your student loans, they become private loans.
To find any private student loan balances (or check who your lender is):
- Get your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — at AnnualCreditReport.com (you can do this once a year for free)
- Check your credit report to see a list all of your current obligations, including student loans. It will list how much you borrowed and who the loan servicer is.
- Contact the loan servicer to start making payments or start the student loan refinancing process
Check Out: The Best Student Loan Refinancing Companies
Managing your student loans
While it may sound complex, learning how to answer “How much do I have in student loans?” is an important first step in managing your debt. Once you know how much you owe and who your loan servicers are, you can come up with a repayment plan that works for you.
If you want to pay off your debt as quickly as possible so you can save money, check out these strategies that can help you pay off your student loans faster.