How To Find Your Student Loan Balance
At this point in the process, you probably have a few important questions. For example, what is the interest rate on my student loans? Also, how do I check my student loan balance? You may also be wondering when your final student loan payment is due, or how long you have to pay off your debts based on the current repayment schedule.
The steps you'll take to find out this crucial information will depend on whether you have private student loans or federal student loans.
If you have private student loans, you can…
Look at your most recent student loan bill to find your current loan balance, your interest rate, and your remaining loan term.
Log in to your student loan servicer's online portal in order to find this information.
Call your student loan company's customer service number to inquire.
If you have federal student loans, you can…
Log into your account dashboard at studentaid.gov to review a summary of your federal student loans.
Read through the loan details for each federal student loan to find your balance owed and current interest rate.
You can also call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243 to inquire.
When it comes to how to calculate student loan payments, there are three main loan features to keep in mind.
Your loan amount is, simply put, the amount of student loan debt you have at any given time. Note that your loan amount will go down over time provided you make payments that cover principal and interest on a regular basis. Also be aware that you may have different loan amounts over a combination of student loans and that you'll also have a total amount of student debt to contend with.
Your loan term is the length of time you need to make payments on your student loans. For example, federal student loans come with a standard repayment plan of ten years (120 months) and other repayment plans for federal loans can last up to 25 years.
The interest rate on your student loan is illustrated using an annual percentage rate (APR), which represents the annual amount of interest charged on your student loans. You may have a fixed interest rate that stays the same for the life of your loan, but you may also have a variable rate that fluctuates over time based on market conditions.
How To Calculate Your Student Loan Payment
How are student loan payments calculated? For the most part, they are based on the current loan amount, the beginning repayment term, and the interest rate the student is being charged.
For example, let's say you owe $10,000 in student loan debt on a single loan with an annual percentage rate (APR) of 6%. Let's also imagine you are preparing to make your first student loan payment, and that you've chosen to repay your student debt using the standard, ten-year repayment plan. When you input this information in our student loan calculator, you'll find your estimated student loan payments work out to $111, and that the total costs of your student loan amount to $13,322 over the 120-month timeline.
From here, you can play around with the inputs in our calculator to explore other options. For example, refinancing your student loans into a new loan product with a 5% APR would lower your monthly payment to $106 and your total loan costs to $12,728.
If you stuck with your current loans at 6% but extended your repayment term to 15 years, on the other hand, your monthly payment would lower to $84, but your total loan costs would increase to $15,189.
The way you handle your student loans can dramatically impact your ability to save money in college and after graduation. By making more than the minimum payment, you can pay lower long-term costs for your college degree and set yourself up for financial success along the way.
You may also consider refinancing your student loans to get a lower interest rate or more preferential repayment term, but you will want to understand the differences between federal student loans and private student loans before you do.
As an example, you should know you'll give up federal benefits — like deferment and forbearance — if you refinance federal student loans with a private lender. You'll also give up access to income-driven repayment programs and forgiveness programs, like Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
Before you start accruing debt, it's important to plan ahead by applying for financial aid and scholarships — regardless of whether you think you'll be approved — because it's likely you will receive some measure of financial assistance.