You must know what type of student loan you have in order to understand your options. You can use the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) to find out what federal loans you have. As of February 2020, the NSLDS site is found on the Department’s StudentAid.gov site. There is a large “Log In” button on the right side of the screen that you must use to see your account information (also known as your “dashboard.”). Once you enter your FSA ID, you will have access to a lot of information, including your student aid summary.
You must have a FSA ID to access your loan information. If you do not already have an FSA ID, you can create one by clicking on the “Create Account” button on the StudentAid.gov site. The Department has posted answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the FSA ID system.
Once you access your loan “dashboard”, you will see an aid summary as well as more detailed information about each individual grant, loan, and aid overpayment. The Department says that the new dashboard will allow you to keep track of your remaining eligibility for Direct Subsidized Loans (Subsidized Usage Limit Applied – SULA) and Federal Pell Grants and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants (Lifetime Eligibility Used – LEU). You should also be able to track your progress toward repaying loans and track the number of qualifying payments made toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) if applicable. In addition, the aid summary will include information about your loan servicer and a link to the loan servicer’s website.
You can also call the Federal Student Aid Information Center, 1-800-4-FED-AID, TDD 1-800-730-8913. The Center’s counselors can help you figure out what types of loans you have.
Federal loan promissory notes and applications will state the name of the federal loan program (Stafford, PLUS, Perkins, FFEL, William D. Ford Direct Loan Program, etc.) at the top of your monthly bill, and loan contract.
There is no central data base similar for private student loan information. You should contact your lenders or loan holders to get more information about private loans. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a private student loan ombudsman and an on-line student loan assistant tool. The Department of Education also has information about the differences between federal and private student loans.
Most private student loans will have a disclosure statement similar to the information that is included on mortgage loans and car loans. This is because most private loans are covered by the Truth in Lending Act while federal loans are not. Sample disclosures from the Federal Reserve Board:
You can also get information about your student loans by checking your credit report. Be aware, however, that some loans, particularly older loans, may not appear on the credit report.