Understanding Your Numbers

Understanding Your Numbers

To prepare for repayment, it’s important to fully understand the details of your student loans. You should be able to answer the following questions:

  • What type of loans do you have?
  • How much do you need to repay?
  • What is the interest rate on these loans?
  • Who do you need to repay?
  • When do you need to start repayment?
  • Where do you send your payment?

You can get the answers to several of these questions from the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). NSLDS is a confidential database that is maintained by the U.S. Department of Education. It is the official source of information about what types of Federal education loans you borrowed, who currently holds/services your Federal student loans, how much you owe on each loan and the status of each loan.

You’ll need your FSA ID – a username and password – to access your loan information on NSLDS. If you don’t know your username or password, visit the Federal Student Aid website to learn more.

Once you log in to NSLDS, you will have access to the following loan details:

  • Loan type
  • Grace period
  • Current loan status
  • Outstanding principal
  • Outstanding interest
  • Interest rate
  • Servicer

If you have non-federal loans, you’ll need to check your credit report to identify them or contact your financial aid office for a list of those loans, so that you have a complete picture of your student loan debt. You can check your credit report at annualcreditreport.com, a truly free credit report that does not impact your credit score to obtain.

After you have identified all of your student loans, it’s also important to confirm the repayment start date for each of them with your loan servicer(s). A grace period is a period of time when you are not yet required to make payment and they vary based on loan type. It’s important to plan accordingly because some of your loans will enter repayment after a 6- or 9-month grace period, while others may enter repayment upon disbursement or graduation.