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How to Check Student Loan Balance: Find Out How Much You Owe in Student Loans

How to Check Your Student Loan Balance
Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman
Sulaiman Abdur-RahmanUpdated June 1, 2022
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
Editor’s Note: Since the writing of this article, the Biden administration has extended the pause on federal student loan repayment through mid 2023. Federal student loan borrowers may access their Federal Student Aid online dashboard to check how much they owe in federal student loans. Federal Student Aid, also known as FSA, is an office of the U.S. Department of Education that hosts comprehensive information on federal student loan borrowers.You can use your FSA login credentials to access your FSA dashboard, which highlights the total balance of principal and interest on your federal student loans. Your student loan servicer can also provide you with information on your loan balance.Private student loan borrowers may contact their individual loan servicers to check the balance of their private student loans. Your credit report may also contain information regarding the balance of any active student loans you took out. Below we provide more details on how you may check the balance of your federal or private student loans.

Why You Should Check How Much You Owe in Student Loans

Borrowing money to help pay for tuition and other college expenses puts you in debt and makes you legally responsible for repaying your student loans. Making payments to reduce your loan balance can bolster your credit history and improve your debt-to-income ratio. Checking how much you owe in student loans can inform you about the size and status of your student loan obligations. Having this information may help you determine whether you should pay your student loans off early or refinance with another lender.To refinance your student loans, you may submit a student loan refinancing application with a private lender and see if you qualify. Private lenders can set their own underwriting standards, but some may require applicants to have steady income and good credit. For subprime borrowers, it might be difficult to refinance student loans with bad credit.One of the advantages of refinancing student loans is it may provide you with a lower interest rate. One of the big disadvantages of refinancing student loans with a private lender, however, is you’ll be forfeiting federal benefits. Refinancing federal student loans will remove your access to income-driven repayment plans offered by the federal government.The difference between federal vs. private student loans is that federal student loans are provided exclusively by the U.S. Department of Education. Banks, credit unions, online lenders, and select state-based or state-affiliated organizations may offer private student loans. You can refinance federal student loans with private student loans.The federal government in March 2020 suspended student loan payments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.After a number of extensions, the moratorium on student loan payments is scheduled to be lifted on August 31, 2022. Borrowers at that time may consider a student loan deferment. Meanwhile, people who served in the U.S. armed forces may qualify for military student loan forgiveness.

How to Check Your Federal Student Loan Balance

Here’s how you can check your federal student loan balance:

Use the National Student Loan Data System

The National Student Loan Data System is the federal government’s national database containing centralized data about federal student loan borrowers. Borrowers with an FSA ID can use their login credentials to access their Federal Student Aid online dashboard.The dashboard contains information about your federal student loan borrowing history as reported to the National Student Loan Data System. Borrowers can access their personal data, including their total federal student loan balance, through the FSA website.

Contact Your School’s Financial Aid Office

Contacting your school’s financial aid office may help you check the total balance of your federal student loans. Authorized users at schools can access information reported to the National Student Loan Data System.Schools may refer students to the FSA website concerning questions about federal student loans. Some schools, however, may provide detailed information about your federal student loan balance upon request.

How to Check Your Private Student Loan Balance

As mentioned earlier, private student loan borrowers may contact their individual loan servicers to check the balance of their private student loans. Private lenders may be available to answer questions via email, telephone, fax, or postal mail.Private lenders may also operate websites allowing borrowers to sign in and check the balance of their private student loans online. Borrowers with more than one private lender may have to contact each private lender individually to check the loan balance for each account.Your credit report may also contain information regarding the balance of any active student loans you took out. The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives borrowers the right to obtain their free credit report every 12 months upon request.The federal government’s National Student Loan Data System does not contain any information on private student loans. Getting a copy of your credit report can be helpful, given that a centralized and universal database does not exist for private student loans.Borrowers, in some cases, may reach out to their school’s financial aid office to get basic information on their private student loans. Private student loans must generally be certified by the school when disbursed to cover postsecondary education expenses.Some borrowers may never finish repaying a student loan during their lifetime. What happens to student loans when you die is the debt might be discharged, although some lenders may demand repayment from your estate.Some may ask, how long does it take to pay off student loans? It can take borrowers between 10 to 30 years to pay off federal student loans and five to 25 years to pay off private student loans.

Compare Student Loan Refinancing Options With Lantern

Lantern by SoFi can help you compare student loan refinance options. Refinancing might be right for you if you can lock in a lower interest rate. Explore your options today and consider applying with a lender of your choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do you check how much is left on your student loan balance?
Why should you track your student loans?
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
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About the Author

Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman

Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman

Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman writes about personal loans, auto loans, student loans, and other personal finance topics for Lantern. He’s the recipient of more than 10 journalism awards and currently serves as a New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists board member. An alumnus of the Philadelphia-based Temple University, Abdur-Rahman is a strong advocate of the First Amendment and freedom of speech.
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