Loans Student Loans Managing Your Student Loans How To Find Your Student Loan Balance Find out how much you owe even if you forgot your lenders By Ken Clark Ken Clark Ken Clark is a former Certified Financial Planner (CFP) with over a decade of experience working in the financial planning industry. He is an expert on student loans, financial aid, and paying for college, and has also authored six personal finance books. Ken is a licensed family therapist specializing in money conflict among couples. learn about our editorial policies Updated on November 23, 2022 Reviewed by Michael J Boyle Reviewed by Michael J Boyle Michael Boyle is an experienced financial professional with more than 10 years working with financial planning, derivatives, equities, fixed income, project management, and analytics. learn about our financial review board In This Article View All In This Article Find Federal Student Loan Balances How NSLDS Knows Your Loan Balances Find Your Private Loan Balances Why You Should Track Your Loans Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Photo: Dougal Waters/Digital Vision/Getty Images It can be easy to lose track of all of your student loans and your total balance, especially when you're busy in college. Many students receive multiple small loans per semester, which can be a mixture of federal student loans—such as Perkins, Stafford, and PLUS—and private student loans. While your school financial aid office may be able to help you find some basic facts and figures, there are other effective ways to find out your total student loan balance. Note On Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, the Biden administration extended the pause on payments and interest on federal student loans for the eighth time. Borrowers with federal student loans won’t have to make payments, and loans won’t resume accumulating interest, until 60 days after court cases challenging Biden’s student loan forgiveness program are resolved or the Department of Education is allowed to move forward with the program. If the cases aren’t resolved by June 30, 2023, payments will resume two months after that. Finding Your Federal Student Loan Balances You can always access student loan information through your My Federal Student Aid account, where you can find your federal student loan balances under the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). This is the U.S. Department of Education's central database for student aid, and it keeps track of all your federal student loans. You'll need a Federal Student Aid ID username and password to log in to the site. The ID serves as your legal signature, and you can't have someone—whether an employer, family member, or third party—create an account for you, nor can you create an account for someone else. The NSLDS stores information so you can quickly check it whenever you need to, and it will tell you which loans are subsidized or unsubsidized, which is important because it can determine how much you end up paying after graduation. If your loans are subsidized, the U.S. Department of Education pays the interest while you're enrolled in school; interest accrues during that time with unsubsidized loans. To qualify for a subsidized loan, you must be an undergraduate student who has demonstrated financial need. Unsubsidized loans are available to undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree students, and there are no financial qualifications in place. Note On Aug. 24, 2022, President Joe Biden announced via Twitter the cancellation of $10,000 of federal student loan debt for eligible borrowers, and $20,000 for federal Pell Grant recipients. How NSLDS Knows Your Student Loan Balances The NSLDS receives information for its database from a variety of sources, including guaranty agencies, loan servicers, and other government loan agencies. When you enroll in a college or university, the school also sends information, including any student loan debt you took on, to the NSLDS. It notes when you took out the loan, when it was disbursed, when your grace period ended, and when you paid it off. The NSLDS is useful because it gives a total picture of your federal loans at once, so you know right away how much federal debt you have. However, it doesn't include any information about your private student loans. Finding Your Private Student Loan Balances Finding information about your private student loans can be a bit more difficult than getting your federal loan balances since private lenders sometimes sell their loans to other companies. If you're not sure who your lender is for private student loans, call your school's financial aid office for help or call your original lender if you know it. If neither of those options works for you, you can figure out your private student loan lenders by reviewing your credit report. The report should show all of your current debts and accounts, including all student loans. Note You can safely get a free annual credit report from all three reporting agencies—Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian—at AnnualCreditReport.com. Why You Should Track Your Student Loans While it might seem complicated, it is essential to keep track of your student loans and the amount of debt you owe, including knowing how much you borrowed and how much you owe once you add interest. This can be helpful while you are in college, and as you start your budgeting process after graduation. Many options exist for repayment plans, including the following: Standard plans: Payments are calculated to guarantee loans are paid off within 10–30 years. Graduated plans: These are designed to ensure loans will be repaid within a certain amount of time, but payments will increase gradually over time.Income-based: These repayment plans calculate your monthly payments based on how much you earn, with higher wages equaling higher payments. Once you have a solid number to start with, you can begin to create a repayment plan to get rid of that debt as quickly as possible. You can develop a repayment plan that works for your salary and lifestyle and pays down the debt quickly to save you money over time. You can always contact your loan servicer to update your payment plan if your situation changes. This does not have a negative impact on your credit. Note On Aug. 24, 2022, President Joe Biden’s administration proposed a new plan for federal student loan repayment for undergraduate loans. The plan would cap monthly payments at 5% of your monthly income. After 10 years, whatever remaining balance you have would be eliminated if the original loan balance was $12,000 or less. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Why is my student loan balance increasing? Because some federal plans allow for income-driven repayment, it's possible that you're only paying a portion of the interest owed each month. This unpaid interest gets added to your principal and causes your balance to increase. How do I consolidate student loans? The process for consolidating your student loans depends on whether you have private or federal student loans. If you have private loans or want to combine private and federal loans into one, you'll need to refinance them with another private loan. You can consolidate multiple federal loans into one new federal loan through a Direct Consolidation Loan, which you can set up through the Federal Student Aid website. When do you have to start paying student loans? Most federal student loans have a six-month grace period that begins when you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time status. That means you have six months before you must begin paying back your loans. Private loan grace periods vary by lender. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. U.S. Department of Education. "Loans." Department of Education. “Biden-Harris Administration Continues Fight for Student Debt Relief for Millions of Borrowers, Extends Student Loan Repayment Pause." U.S. Department of Education. "NSLDS." U.S. Department of Education. "Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans." Twitter. “@POTUS, Aug. 24, 2022 at 11:32 a.m.” U.S. Department of Education. "What is the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®) database?" AnnualCreditReport. "3 Steps to Your Free Credit Reports." U.S. Department of Education. "Repayment Plans." Department of Education. “Biden-Harris Administration Announces Final Student Loan Pause Extension Through December 31 and Targeted Debt Cancellation To Smooth Transition to Repayment.” Federal Student Aid. "Student Loan Repayment."