A Guide To Determining Whether Your Student Loans Are Federal

Oct 12, 2023 By Susan Kelly

The NSLDS database website is no longer available to borrowers, and the federal student loan website has moved to www.studentaid.gov after this story was published. You may still use the same steps to figure out if your student loans are private or federal; the federal government only has a new website where you can view their data.

When applying for federal student assistance, including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Federal Direct Consolidation Loans, and federal income-driven repayment plans, students should now start at StudentAid.gov.

Top November 2022 Interest Rates for Student Loans

You may apply for need-based federal student loans while filling out the FAFSA since federal student aid is distributed on a need-basis. You may access your federal student loan and other financial assistance information, as well as your FSA ID, through one central location.

You may accomplish this at any moment during or after your stay at school. Your student loans will be enrolled in the Standard Repayment Plan once you graduate. At any moment, you can switch to a different payment option that works better for you.

You can, for instance, sign up for an income-driven repayment plan, wherein monthly payments are calculated as a share of after-tax income, taking into account the number of people living in your home.

Private Student Loans

Banks, credit unions, and internet lending companies are a few private entities offering student loans. Personal student loans are available at any time during your studies; however, most lenders conduct a credit check before extending credit.

If your credit needs to be higher, you might have to ask a friend or family member to co-sign for a loan. You and your cosigner will be jointly responsible for repaying the debt when you graduate.

A person's ability to repay private lenders depends on the amount borrowed and the person's credit history. Some loans include payments due while you are still in school, while others have deferral programs that allow you to pay after graduation.

Private loans often have higher interest rates than government loans; however, private lenders may offer both variable and fixed interest rates. Personal loans often have shorter repayment durations (five to twenty years), resulting in higher monthly payments.

Methods For Identifying Your Loan Type

With your FSA ID and password, you may access your Federal Student Aid account and view details about your federal student loans. You may access "My Loan Servicers" on your account dashboard or the National Student Loan Database. There's a good likelihood that you're not paying off a federal loan if you're making payments to a lender who isn't on our list.

The Present Federal Student Loan Collectors

Check your lender's website or the payment portal to determine if your loan is federal or private. Current services for federal student loans are:

  • FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA)
  • GLELS Inc.
  • HESC/Edfinancial
  • MOHELA
  • Nelnet
  • OSLAService
  • ECSI
  • The Default Group Resolution

It's also possible that the government no longer approves the lender from whom you borrowed federal student loans to service such debts. It's common to have a different lender now than when you graduated because many loans change hands over their careers.

Methods For Determining The Federal Origin of a Loan

If you are still confused about whether or not your loan is federal, you might look for the following signs:

There's a Direct Label There

Direct Consolidation Loans, Direct PLUS Loan, and Direct Subsidized Loan are all examples of new loan programs the federal government offers. You may come across more specific terms, such as "Parent PLUS Loans," when searching for PLUS Loans. Some of the more familiar names for student loans include Perkins, FFEL, and Stafford.

Your Payments Have Stopped

There has been a freeze on federal student loans since the COVID-19 outbreak began. Interest rates have been reduced to zero, and payments have been temporarily suspended. Upon request, many private lenders put amounts on hold.

In Your Credit Report

Finding out who issued your student loans is as simple as ordering a copy of your credit report. The Education Department or your loan servicer (one of the companies we've already mentioned) may be said. If your student loans are serviced by a company like Nelnet, which handles both federal and private loans, you may need to contact them to find out which kind you have.

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