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How Much Do I Owe in Student Loans?

By Kayla Korzekwinski

Kayla Korzekwinski is a Scholarships360 content writer. She earned her BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied Advertising/PR, Rhetorical Communication, and Anthropology. Kayla has worked on communications for non-profits and student organizations. She loves to write and come up with new ways to express ideas.

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Updated: March 9th, 2022
How Much Do I Owe in Student Loans?

Whether you’re in college or entering repayment, you may wonder “how much do I owe in student loans?” You’re not alone! According to the Institute for College Access and Success, 62% of college seniors graduated with debt in 2019. Your loan balance has likely increased due to interest. It’s important to know exactly how much you owe so you can start making a repayment plan. Continue reading to learn how much you owe in student loans!

Also read: Student loan default: What it is and how to avoid it

Log in to The National Student Loan Data System

If you have federal student loans, you can track them on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). 

Log into the NSLDS using your FSA ID. If you have completed the FAFSA before, you likely already have one. If you don’t have an FSA ID, you can create one at the login page of the NSLDS. The process of setting up your FSA ID includes selecting a username and password. You will also have to provide personal information such as your date of birth and social security number. It can take 1 – 3 days to have this information and your FSA ID confirmed.

The NSLDS provides the following information: 

  • Loan type(s) such as Direct, FFEL, or Perkins loans
  • The original loan balance for each loan
  • The current loan balance, or how much you still owe
  • The loan status such as good standing, default, deferment, or forbearance
  • The servicer of your loan(s)

It’s important to note that not all loans appear on the NSLDS. It only shows Title IV loans, meaning loans that you received from the Department of Education through the FAFSA. Private nursing school loans, for example, would not be shown. Additionally, any federal loans you’ve refinanced will not appear because they are now private loans.

The NSLDS is not always up-to-date. The information shown can be up to 120 days old. If you feel the information may be old, talk to your loan servicer for more updated numbers.

Read more: How much student loan debt is too much?

Check your credit report

The NSLDS only shows information about federal student loans. If you have private loans, you can check your debt by viewing your credit report with a service like Credit Karma. This can be done for free online. 

The credit report combines information from the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. It contains information about all of your debts, including student loans. 

Related: How long does it take to build credit?

Talk to your school

It can be difficult to track all your student loans. Your loans can change hands if your lender sells or transfers them to another servicer. If you’re unsure who your servicer is, contact your school’s financial aid office. The school can contact your lenders and get the information you need.

Your school can also give you information about student loans that don’t appear on the NSLDS or private student loans.

Also read: Student loan consolidation and refinancing

Other tools and advice

The servicer of your student loans is always a good place to start when determining how much you owe. Additionally, if you feel your loan balance is incorrect, you can talk to your loan servicer. It’s important that you keep all documents related to your student loans, such as the promissory note. This will contain information about your loan balance, interest rate, repayment plan, and servicer.

If you want to calculate your monthly payments, you can do so using tools such as the Sallie Mae monthly payment calculator. This tool will ask you to input your loan balance, interest, and repayment period. A simple Google Spreadsheet can also do the trick and help you stay on track. It can be useful to know your monthly payments if you want to plan ahead or change your repayment plan. 

It can take some time to calculate how much you truly owe in student loans. There are many factors such as interest, the type of loan, and your loan servicer. However, with some searching, you can find out how much you owe and plan for how you will get debt free!

See also: How to pay off student loans

Checklist for determining how much you owe in student loans

  • Use the National Student Loan Data System to check your federal loans
  • If you have private loans, you can check your credit report to find out how much you owe. You can also log into your loan provider’s portal if you have the login information handy.
  • Try talking to your college’s financial aid office if you are a current student and still have questions
  • If you want to find out what your monthly payment will be, try Sallie Mae’s monthly payment calculator.
  • Remember, there are ways to change your monthly payment. If you are intimidated by your current payment, try looking into income-driven repayment plans. You can also look into getting your loans deferred, though this will probably cause your total owed to increase with interest.
  • Finally, once you discover how much you owe, you may realize you could find a better loan deal. If this is the case, look into consolidating and/or refinancing your student loans.

Additional student loan resources

If you’re paying back student loans, we have a wide range of resources to help. Check out our guide to loan forgiveness, including public service loan forgiveness, if you think you might qualify. We also have a list of grants to pay back student loans, and a guide to the best student loan repayment plans.

For anyone having a difficult time meeting monthly payments, you might want to consider income-driven repayment plans. Finally, for those considering grad school, check out our guide to deferring loans for grad school students. Good luck!

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