How to Stay on Top of Your Federal Student Loans

Posted on October 14, 2018 at 12:00pm by
Photo of a Student holding a notebook

Federal student loans are held by millions of people in the United States. However, the default rates on these loans continue to increase. In fact, the Brookings Institution argues that nearly 40 percent of federal loan borrowers could default by 2023.

What many borrowers may not realize is that federal student loans have multiple repayment programs and tools that can prevent default. There are also loan forgiveness options for federal student loans. When attorneys Neil Sader and Michael Wambolt penned an article for Primerus Paradigm on federal loans, they emphasized that “what you owe is less important than what you know.” You must know which types of federal loans you carry to take advantage of these programs.

Using the National Student Loan Data System

The Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Office (FSA) maintains the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). You can access your federal student loan data by logging into this website. If you have not logged on before, then you will need to create an FSA ID. Registering can be tricky for new borrowers, so FSA has published a video that can walk you through the process. If you have already registered, then you can log in using your user ID and password. You will need to enter the email you registered with if you forgot your password or username.

Once you have logged into the NSLDS, you can access detailed information on your student loans. This information can include what types of federal loans you carry, your remaining balances and whether your loans are in good standing.

Using Your Loan Servicer’s Online Portal

In addition to using the NSLDS, you may be able to access your loan data by logging onto your student loan servicer’s website. You can determine who your loan servicer is by logging onto the NSLDS. For example, if your servicer is the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), then you would create or access your account on MyFedLoan. You can set up automatic payments, change your payment due date and perform other tasks by using your servicer’s online portal.

What You Owe Is Less Important Than What You Know

There are different requirements for the various assistance programs operated by the Department of Education. For instance, if you have FFEL Loans, then you may be able to enroll in the Income-Based Repayment Program (also called IBR). Like the other three repayment programs (ICR, REPAYE, PAYE), IBR caps your monthly payments to a percentage of your discretionary income.

On the other hand, if you have Direct Loans, you will have more options to choose from. The Department of Education also offers loan forgiveness options. However, these options are only available for specific types of federal loans. Consolidation options are also available.

Questions? Contact Our Kansas City Student Loan Attorneys

We encourage you to read the Primerus Paradigm article written by Neil Sader and Michael Wambolt. The article goes into more detail on helpful programs for federal student loans. And if you (or someone you know are struggling with repayment), Neil Sader is a nationally recognized authority on student loans. Student loan borrowers can set up an appointment with Neil to discuss their legal questions regarding repayment options and loan modifications.



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