Understanding Federal Student Loans – Step 1

When trying to get your federal student loans under control, information is power The best place to gather information about your federal student loans is at the National Student Loan Data System website

The NSLDS, as it's more commonly called, is a database of federal student loans run by the US Department of Education To start, open your web browser Type the web address: W-W-W dot N-S-L-D-S dot E-D dot G-O-V This brings you to the NSLDS home screen While there are many options, the one you want is the first box: financial aid review

The next screen will be a security information screen Click "yes" to agree and be brought to the login screen Type your username and password to login If this is your first time using the site, click "create an FSA ID" tab to create a username and password The process can take several minutes

Once logged in, you'll see a screen like this one Of course it will have your information Any federal loans you've ever had, even if you cancelled, should show here Private loans will never show in the NSLDS You'll see the types of loans, loan amount at origination, loan date of origination, disbursed amount, cancelled amount, and current outstanding principal and interest

The bottom rows in bold are summaries of all the loans based on program and type This example shows totals for Consolidated, Stafford, and Perkins, and finishes with the grand total of all loans broken into total principal and interest Also note those yellow triangles with the red exclamation point! That's an alert that those particular loans are in default To see details of individual loans, you have two options The first is to click the big blue "my student data download" button

But be aware that if you do, you'll get an unformatted data dump If you don't mind reading code, this might make sense to you If not, try the second option If you look at the first column, you'll see each loan has a number Click on the loan to see details in a format layout like this

As you can see this is much easier to read What you see is a slice of the detail page What isn't showing, that you'll see when you do this on your own, is information about the school this particular loan was taken out for, assuming it's not a consolidated loan The chart shown on the screen is where all the useful information is The top box contains information about the loan, including the interest rate, your current repayment plan, and any Public Service Loan Forgiveness time that may be tracked

Don't worry if the time doesn't match your own records It's not uncommon that this is not accurate Time is only tracked when you notify your servicer that you plan on taking advantage of Public Service Loan Forgiveness by completing an employer certification form The middle box gives details about when the loan was dispersed and the different statuses, such as when you are in repayment, deferment, forbearance, or even default This particular loan was paid in full in 1997

It's nice to have that kind of record The bottom box names the servicer, lender, and sometimes the guarantee agency This particular example does not show the servicer To download or save this layout, you can print a hard copy, do a "print screen" to save it as a picture, or print it as a PDF, which many browsers give as an option under print Congratulations! Having this NSLDS information is the first step in taking control of your federal student loans

Source: Youtube

Understanding Federal Student Loans – Step 1

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