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.)