You can view your federal student loans by logging into studentaid.gov with your Federal Student Aid ID. Previously, you could view your federal student loans using the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). But that changed in the past year. Now, the U.S. Department of Education merged the NSLDS into studentaid.gov, making it a one-stop-shop for all things dealing with your student loan debt.
After logging in with your FSA ID, you can not only view your student loan debt, but you can also:
- get the contact information for your student loan servicer
- identify the type of loans you have
- check your interest rate
- see your loan balance
- review repayment plans
- apply for a consolidation loan
Basically, this website has all of your federal loan information.
How to find your private student loans?
Private student loans don't have a central database like the federal government. Because of that, it's a little harder to find your private student loans.
The best way I've learned to find private student loans you've borrowed is to order your 3 free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com.
Once you get your reports, go through each one and look for accounts labeled student loans. Compare that list against the loans listed on the NSLDS. Any student loan listed on your report and not on the database is a private student loan.
Where Can I Find My Loan Information?
After logging into studentaid.gov, you should see a dashboard of your loan information.
If you don't see your loans:
- click on your name in the upper right-hand corner, then
- click on dashboard
You should now see an overview of your federal loan information.
Next, click "view details".
The new screen will allow you to do two things:
- download a detailed breakdown of all of your federal student loans and
- view all of your federal student loans individually.
What to do after you find your loans
The file you download sucks. It's a txt file that is incredibly difficult to read. It's basically just line after line of student loan information.
The better way to view your student loans is to go through each loan one-by-one using the website.
I use this spreadsheet to capture for each loan:
- the loan program the loan was made under (Direct Loan, FFEL Loan, Perkins Loan, PLUS Loans, subsidized/unsubsidized loan, etc.)
- the disbursement date
- the loan amount disbursed
- the current student loan balance
- the current student loan repayment plan (REPAYE, PAYE, IBR, etc.)
- the student loan servicer for each loan
- whether any loans are in student loan default
Once complete, this spreadsheet provides me a single source of truth about my client's student aid information.
The only thing I'm missing is my client's history of student loan payments. To get those, I'll contact the loan servicer.
What to do after you get your loan information?
After you get your loan information, what you do next depends on what you find.
Here's what I mean.
Let's say you're a charter school teacher who wants Public Service Loan Forgiveness. You look at your loans and see you have FFEL Plus Loans from grad school and a Perkins Loans from undergrad. None of those loans qualify for the PSLF program. That program only forgives loans made under the Direct Loan program. To get your loans to qualify, you have to apply for loan consolidation. So consolidation would be your next step.
Or let's say you find out that you have student loans in default. To get out of default, you have to first find out who has your student loans. They've either been sent to the Default Resolution Group or, if they're an FFEL loan, they may have been sent to a guaranty agency like Trellis.
Once you contact the company that has your loans, you'll need to work with them to set up monthly payments to get your loans out of default under the loan rehabilitation program. (You may also be able to consolidate.)
How to get your federal student loan promissory note
Sometimes you can use this central database to get your promissory note.
To see if your promissory notes or stored digitally on the site:
- click your name (upper right-hand corner)
- click documents
On the new screen, under "my documents" click "filter by" and select "Master Promissory Note".
Hopefully, you'll find your note there. If not, you'll have to request it from the Federal Student Aid Information Center.
Here's the phone number for the FSA Info Center: 1-800-433-3243.
What happened to the NSLDS?
In early 2020, the Department of Education redirected the nslds.ed.gov website to studentaid.gov. Their goal was to create a central system for borrowers to manage their FAFSA interaction.
While I applaud the Department's effort, I miss the old website. It was so much easier to use.
With the new system, all the information borrowers need to manage their loans is buried on various screens. The site can be really confusing even for student loan attorneys like me who use it daily.
How do I access my National Student Loan Data System? You can access the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) by logging in to the Federal Student Aid website, studentaid.gov. Federal student loan borrowers can also call the NSLDS at 1-800-433-3243.