How Much Do I Owe in Student Loans? Where to Look for Student Loan Balances

In addition to keeping in touch with your college classmates and friends, you also need to keep track of your student loan balance. With the average college graduate owing up a record amount in student loans, you don’t want to miss a payment as the interest will accrue quickly. It pays to take a few minutes to find out how much you owe in student loans to each lender.

If you borrowed from several different lenders for your student loans, this process could be a little tricky. The best place to start is by gathering your original loan documents. If you didn’t keep these documents, you could also try these other options below.

It is rather easy to find your federal student loans balances. All you need to do is visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) that records all your federal loans, grants, and aid receipts.

It doesn’t matter who services your federal loan, you will find your balance, interest rate, and payment status here. To get started, you will need your FSA user id number. If you don’t have one, they are easy to obtain from the Department of Education.

If you have already started making federal student loan payments, the data can be delayed up to 120 days from the time you make a payment to when it is reported to the NSLDS. Don’t worry, if you overpay your total loan principal and interest balance, you will receive a refund for the overpayment amount. If you know who your loan servicer is, then you can use your login credentials (hopefully you didn’t forget!) directly with your servicer’s student loan portal to find your balance.

The process of checking your student loans can be challenging. This is because the original lender could have transferred it to a servicer before it even entered repayment status. When it comes to finding your private loan balances, check with your original lender or the loan servicer if you have that information.

You can contact the original lender by phone or accessing your online account. If your loans have been transferred to a servicer, they can tell you the name of the servicing company and their contact information. Once you create an online account with the servicer, you will be able to view your balance, interest rate, payment status, and schedule future payments.

When you have already received a piece of mail from your lender stating your loan has been transferred to a servicing company, go directly to the servicer. They are the ones that will collect your student loan payments and report them to the credit bureaus.

Another option to find your student loan balance is to view your credit report. Each lender or servicer should report your federal and private student loan activity to the main credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) even if your loans are still in deferment status.

You can pull your credit report from each bureau for free once a year from certain websites. It is a good idea to look at your report from multiple different sources. In some cases, student loan lenders and servicers do not always report your loans to all three credit bureaus. If you only view one bureau report, there is a decent chance that a few of your loans will be overlooked.

One final place to inquire is your college financial aid office. Most offices record the name, dollar amount, and date of receipt for each student loan they receive. This is partially so they can keep records that you are paid in full for each semester and also to report borrowing statistics.

Your financial aid office won’t be able to tell you how much you currently owe based on accrued interest or any payments you might have made, but they can tell you how much the original check was written out for.

Not knowing how much you owe on your student loans can be overwhelming. By gathering this information as soon as possible, preferably before graduation, it will be one less thing to do after you move away and enter the workforce. The good thing is that even if you start the process of finding out how much you owe in student loans after graduation, most of the information can be easily accessed online or by making a phone call.

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How I Paid Off $38,000 In Student Loan Debt In 7 Months

January 26, 2015 BY Michelle Schroeder-Gardner - 76 Comments

How much student loans do i oweLately, I have received many questions asking how I was able to pay off my student loans so quickly. I haven't talked much about my student loans since I paid them off in July of 2013, but I know many struggle with their student loan repayment plan each and every day.

Due to this, it is a topic I am always happy to cover. Paying off your student loans is a wonderful feeling and I want to help everyone else experience the same.

To start off, I am going to provide a quick background on my student loans.

I worked full-time all throughout college. I worked as a retail manager from when I was a teenager until I graduated with my two undergraduate degrees (I was a double major). Then, I was lucky and found a financial analyst position right when I graduated. I took around six months off from college, then I went back to get my Finance MBA, all while still working full-time and building my business.

Even though I worked full-time, I didn't really put any money towards my student loan debt while I was in college.

Instead, I spent money on ridiculous things like going to my favorite Mexican restaurant WAY too many times each week and spending money on clothing that I didn't need.

I didn't have a realistic budget back then, at least not a good one. I didn't think about my student loan repayment plan at all either!

So, when I finished my Finance MBA, I finally came to terms with the fact that I needed to start getting real about my student loans. I had six months after the day I graduated with my Finance MBA until my student loans would come out of deferment.

I knew I had to create an action plan to get rid of my student loans.

And that's when I took a HUGE gulp and decided to add up the total of what I owed.

After adding all of my student loans together, I realized I had $38,000 in student loan debt. No, this might not be as much as some of the crazy stories you hear out there where others have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of student loan debt, but I wasn't exactly near the average of what others owed either. I also wasn't happy because I kept thinking about how I had been working full-time for many years, yet I didn't even put a dent on my student loans.

After totaling what I owed, I decided to buckle down and start my debt payoff near the end of 2012.

I ended up finishing paying off my student loans in early July of 2013, which means it took right around seven months for me to pay them off completely.

It's still something I cannot believe is true. I always thought I would have student loans hanging over my head for years, so I am extremely grateful that I was able to eliminate them so quickly.

Now, you may be wondering “Well, how do I do the same?” Or you might even be thinking that it's not possible for you.

However, I believe you CAN do the same and that it IS possible for you.

For some, it might take longer to pay off your student loans or it might even take less. It depends on how much you owe, how much time you can spend on making more money, and honestly, it also depends on how bad you want it.

Related tip: I highly recommend SoFi for student loan refinancing. You can lower the interest rate on your student loans significantly by using SoFi which may help you shave thousands off your student loan bill over time.

Here are my tips to pay off your student loans quickly:

Like I said above, the first thing that made me jumpstart my student loan repayment plan was the fact that I took the time to add up how much student loan debt I had.

It shocked me so much that I probably wanted to throw up. That's good though because it can be a good source of motivation for most people. I know it was for me!

When you add up your student loans, do not just take a guess. Actually pull up each student loan and tally everything down to the exact penny.

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There are many people out there who do not fully understand their student loans. There are many things you should do your research on so that you can create the best student loan repayment plan.

This mainly includes:

  • Your interest rate. Some student loans have fixed interest rates, whereas others might have variable rates. You'll want to figure out what the interest rate on your loans are because that may impact the student loan repayment plan you decide on. For example, you might choose to pay off your student loans that have the highest interest rates first so that you can pay less money over time.
  • Student loan reimbursements. Some employers will give you money to put towards your student loans, but you should always do your research when it comes to this area. Some employers will require that you work for them for a certain amount of time, you have great grades, good attendance, and they might have other requirements as well. There are many employers out there who will pay your student loans back (fully or partially), so definitely look into this option.
  • Auto-payments. For most student loans, you can probably auto-pay them and receive a discount. Always look into this as you may be able to lower your interest rate by 0.25% on each of your student loans.

If you don't have one already, then you should create a budget immediately.

First, include your actual income and expenses for each month. This will help show you how much money you have left over each month and how much money should be going towards your student loan debt each month.

Cut your budget to create a quicker student loan repayment plan.

The next step is to cut your budget so that you can have a better student loan repayment plan. Even though you may have just created a budget, you should go through it line by line and see what you really do not need to be spending money on.

There's probably SOMETHING that can be cut.

You might not have even realized it until after you wrote down exactly how much money you were shoveling towards nonsense until now. However, now is better than never!

We worked towards cutting our budget as much as we could. I can't remember exactly how much we cut it by, but I know that it was enough to where I felt like I was putting a dent in my student loans.

Even if all you can cut is $100 each month, that is much better than nothing. That's $1,200 a year right there!

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Earn more money as a part of your student loan repayment plan.

The month I paid off my student loans was a month where I earned over $11,000 in extra income. While this does sound crazy, I did start off by making just $0 in extra income. Everyone has to start somewhere.

Even if $11,000 a month isn't possible for you, I'm sure something is. If you can make an extra $1,000 a month in extra income, that can help you knock out your student loans in no time.

The point of all of the above is to help you pay off your student loans. However, you can always go a little bit further and pay off your student loans more quickly. The key to this is that you will need to pay more than the minimum each month for you to speed up your student loan repayment plan process.

It may sound hard, but it really doesn't have to be. Whatever extra you can afford, you should think about putting it towards your student loans. You may be able to shave years of your student loans!

How much student loan debt do you have? What's your student loan repayment plan?

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