Paying Your Student Loans: 4 Painless Steps
Most students seem to be overwhelmed at the thought of paying their Federal Student Loans. Many of them even think that if they ignore them, they’ll go away—nothing could be further from the truth!
These are government-backed loans and they must be paid back! The good news is that if you communicate with your loan servicer, they are willing to work with you and your financial situation.
1. Register for General Loan Information
Go to The National Student Loan Data System1 and register by using the Financial Aid Review button. This will give you access to information about loans that have been granted during your education—information about your servicer and contact information is also provided.
2. Find Your Loan Servicer’s Information
After you visit the NSLDS website and find out who your loan servicers are, you should then go to your servicer’s website. Here are a few popular servicers:
3. Register for Your Loan Account
Once you get to your servicer’s website you’ll need to register. By registering you will be able to maintain your loans. You will see:
- Your balance
- Your interest rate
- Date payment is due
- A link to make a payment
- Payment options if you cannot pay your loan
If you cannot make payments, you can apply for a deferment or forbearance.
4. Apply to Combine Your Loans
If you go to the Direct Consolidation Loan Application website7, you can apply online to have all of your Federal Student Loans combined into a single loan. Consolidation offers a number of benefits including lower monthly payments; plus, it makes keeping track of multiple loans easier. If you are experiencing a financial hardship you can find out if you qualify for the IBR program or the ICR program.
The IBR repayment plan offers enormous potential reductions in the monthly payments for high debt/low-income borrowers. IBR limits annual educational debt payment to 15% of a borrower’s discretionary income. Discretionary income is defined as adjusted gross income minus 150% of the poverty level for the borrower’s family size.
The ICR repayment plan is designed to make repaying education loans easier for students who intend to pursue jobs with lower salaries, such as careers in public service. It does this by pegging the monthly payment to the borrower’s income, family size, and total amount borrowed. The monthly payment amount is adjusted annually, based on changes in annual income and family size.
Nelnet wants to improve the odds of every student ending up with a positive financial balance sheet after graduation, along with skills to build good financial habits for life. Visit their Get Financially Fit8 page for:
- Budgeting Worksheet
- Budget Strategies
- Financial Wellness Tips
- Credit Card Tips
- Identity Theft Tips
- Live Life Smart Guide
- Financial Literacy with the Department of Education
So you see, there’s no reason to fear or ignore your student loans. There are many options for every student, in every situation!
1NSLDS Student Access (National Student Loan Data System) http://www.nslds.ed.gov/
2Nelnet Businesses https://www.nelnet.com/welcome
3Conduent (formerly ACS) https://www.conduenteducation.com/CS/Jsp/general/home.jsp
4Dept of Ed/Great Lakes https://mygreatlakes.org/educate/
7Direct Consolidation Loan Application https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/launchConsolidation.action
8Nelnet’s Get Financially Fit page https://www.nelnet.com/get-financially-fit