How to Find Your Student Loan BalanceOctober 28, 2021
When it comes time to manage your student loan debt, the first question to ask is, “how much student loan debt do I have?”
Unfortunately, finding your student loan balance may not be easy if you have multiple loans. Here we will tell you how to find your student loan balance totals, plus give you strategies to pay them off.
Knowing the answer to the question, “how much student loan debt do I have?” will not only help you see how far you’ve come when you’re in the payment process, but it can also be beneficial if you’re looking to refinance your loans. It is also good to track your balance to be sure payments are being applied correctly.
How Much Student Loan Debt Do I Have?
When you’re ready to focus on your finances and gather information about your debts, one question that may come up is, “how much do I owe in student loans?”
If you’ve received student loan funds, you may have an idea of what you owe, but that does not give a full picture of your total debt. In most cases, interest accrues on the loan from the date you received the funds. Therefore, the total student loan balance is often higher due to interest being added.
To find out how much you owe in student loans, it’s good to know whether you have federal or private student loans. If you are unsure which you have, or you have both types, determining your student loan total will take a little more effort.
How to Find Student Loan Balance for Federal Loans
Check the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) to find your total federal student loan balance. You can access the system using your Federal Student Aid ID, the same ID you use to fill out the FAFSA.
The NSLDS will provide information on the type of federal loans you have, the amount borrowed, the disbursement dates, the current status of the loans and the outstanding balance. With this information, you can determine the current total balances of all your federal student loans.
How to Find Student Loan Balance for Private Loans
To find your private student loan balance, you may have to do a little more work since there’s no centralized system for private loan information.
The first thing to check is your credit report. You can obtain a free credit report once every twelve months. The report will contain information about your loan providers, loan balance and payment history for loans.
This should provide a good start to determine the balances, although credit reports do have mistakes sometimes. If something seems inaccurate, try finding your original loan contracts, then follow up with the loan provider directly.
You can also check with your school’s financial aid office for any information they have on loans you received.
Strategies to Pay Off Student Loans
Once you determine your student loan balance, if you are ready to pay your loans off quickly, here are some strategies to consider:
Do Side Jobs
One of the best ways to pay off your student loans quicker is to apply extra payments towards the loan’s principal. If you don’t have room in your budget to make more than the minimum payment, try doing side jobs to earn some extra money. You could sell unused items around your house, dog sit or deliver food or groceries. Use those funds to make extra student loan payments. Even an extra few dollars each month can make a big difference in interest savings.
Student Loan Refinancing
Student loan refinancing involves obtaining a new loan to pay off your previous student loans. When you refinance your loans, you can shorten your repayment term to pay down debt faster.
Refinancing student loans can also help you save on interest costs over the life of the loan. You may be able to even lower your monthly payment depending on the interest rate you qualify for. To find out how much you may be able to save, use ELFI’s Student Loan Refinance Calculator.*
Use Found Money Wisely
If you receive money as a gift, earn a bonus at work or receive extra money you didn’t expect, use this “found” money to make additional payments on your loans. Although you may be tempted to use this money for something more fun, putting it towards your student loans can help you eliminate debt more quickly.
If paying off your debt quickly is a priority, try cutting back your expenses and putting that money toward extra student loan payments. To make the process a little more fun, try a different challenge each month and use the funds typically spent on other budget categories towards your student loans. For example, you could try to not eat out for one month, make no new clothing purchases or only attend free events.
Set up Autopay
Federal student loan servicers and some private lenders offer discounts for enrolling in automatic monthly loan payments. Although the discount is not significant, usually 0.25% interest rate reduction, every little bit helps to reduce your student loan balance.
Finding your student loan balance is an easy process once you know where to start. With this information, you will be able to answer “how much do I owe in student loans?” Then, use some of the strategies provided here to help pay your loans off faster. You got this!