This blog post was co-authored by Michelle Clifton, Director, College Finance, Finance Education, and Stacey MacPhetres, Senior Director, College Finance, Finance Education.
Most federal student loan borrowers have been taking advantage of the pause on federal student loans. For many, this break has been vital during a time of financial hardship. If you have lost track of your student debt, now is the time to get organized. Your loan postponement is currently set to expire on May 1, 2022.
The first step in making sure you are on the right path for your student loan payment is to compile the basic details such as: loan type, balance, interest rate, servicer, etc. But where do you start? Luckily, there are websites you can use to view this information all in one place.
First, you will need to determine if your loans are federal vs. private.
All federal loans in your name are included on the Federal Student Aid (FSA) website. Borrowers need to sign in using their Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID). If you do not have an FSA ID or you don’t remember it, you will have the opportunity to either create a new one or reset the password for it.
Federal Student Aid (FSA)
When you sign into the My Aid > View Details > Aid Summary/Loans section of the FSA website, you will see a list of ALL the federal loans that are in your name, totaled and sorted by servicer. You will see each loan, the current loan balance, interest rate, date of the first disbursement, status of the loan, and last repayment plan used. You can click on each loan to access more information: the date you entered repayment, last payment date, total balance broken down by principal and interest, amount and percentage you have paid off, and the loan servicer’s contact information. If you use an income-driven repayment plan, you will also see when you need to recertify your income each year.
You also have the option to download the information to a text document. The FSA website allows you to estimate your loan repayment: review the plans each loan may be eligible for and estimate payments for each plan through the Loan Simulator. This website is the place to apply for an income-based repayment plan or a federal consolidation loan, if applicable.
After you have reviewed the helpful data on the FSA website, you should create an account on your servicer’s website (if you haven’t already done so). You will submit your loan payments to your servicer. You can also view repayment plan options and request to change your payment plan through your account. Be sure to update your servicer with your current email, phone number, and address. They will not be able to provide proactive outreach without accurate contact information.
It is important to be aware that your servicer may change over the life of your loan.
GRANITE STATE BORROWERS
Granite State transferred the direct loans they held over to Edfinancial Services. Borrowers were sent confirmation notices including the new website in late 2021. The auto-debit information is with the new servicer, but they urge borrowers to verify the information with Edfinancial.
Navient has transferred their direct loans over to Aidvantage (Maximus). Aidvantage borrowers received a welcome letter with the new website. They are planning for a smooth transition and have promised very few changes for borrowers. These borrowers will keep the same account numbers, customer service phone number, and addresses for mailed payments. They will also use their Navient user ID and password to access the Aidvantage website.
FEDLOAN SERVICING BORROWERS
FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA) has already transferred some of their direct loans over to other servicers. These borrowers had to create a new username and password on the MOHELA website. While they have extended their contract through December 2022, more loan transfers from FedLoan Servicing to MOHELA, Aidvantage, Edfinancial, and Nelnet are expected throughout this year. Borrowers who are currently working towards Public Service Loan Forgiveness will be moved from FedLoan Servicing to MOHELA closer to the end of this year.
Unfortunately, there is no website similar to FSA where you can login to view all private loan details. Your credit report should list ALL loans that you either borrowed or co-signed. This should include all your federal loans and any private loans not on FSA. AnnualCreditReport.com is one way to access this — they allow anyone to get a free copy of their credit report once per year from each of the credit reporting companies. Once you have compiled your private loans, head over to your servicer’s website(s) to view all loan details, view the monthly payment amount and make payments. Consider setting up automatic payments to avoid late penalties and possibly earn a small interest rate reduction!
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
When federal loans transfer to new servicers, the loan terms, including interest rates and benefits, do not change. Borrowers who are anticipating a servicer change should save a copy of their current loan information and verify that their contact information is up to date so their new servicer will be able to reach them.
Borrowers should read every notification from lenders and loan servicers. These are often emails, but could be sent as texts and through the mail as well. Loan borrowers often receive solicitations from refinance lenders and even loan forgiveness scams, so it can be tempting to ignore loan notifications. But now is not the time to disregard information from servicers. Again, the best way to confirm the current servicer is to log into the Federal Student Aid website.
Upon transfer to a new loan servicer, it is vital to access account information on the new website to review account details, confirm contact information is accurate, and to make note of an updated user ID and password for that new website. Check back with us for more tips on how to manage your student loans.