Consumer Questions: Stuck on Student Loans

graduation_caps_in_the_airMike W. Asks:

“I am totally overwhelmed by my student loans. When I pulled my credit report there are 15 different loans and I have no idea where to start. I heard I can lower my payment, but I don’t know what to ask or who to call. I am also not sure which ones are private and which ones are government loans. Where do I start?”


Dear Mike: 

I put together some general information as resources for your questions about Student Loans:

  1. It’s really important to see what federal loans you owe and what the status is. You can do that by visiting the National Student Loan Database. The Database will require a PIN. If you have never logged in before you’ll have to create one here:
  2. You’re probably wondering if there is an easier way to repay your student loans. I love this website. This pulls your NSLDS info over into the website and calculates which repayment method you are available for, tells you your payment amount and how much interest you’ll pay along with how long you’ll pay:
  3. If you want to find out about different payment options and the pros and cons to consolidation I have two websites I really like that answer just about any question you could have including about consolidation and loan forgiveness options:
  4. Private Student Loans: The truth is with private student loans that there is nearly nothing you can do except pay them as agreed. They are however, a “normal debt” which means that they have to follow the same collection rules as anyone else. Keep watching for changes with this which may be to your favor. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is paying particular attention to private student loans.
  5. With student loans, negotiations and bankruptcies are extremely rare. Federal loans in collection have extraordinary powers that other debt collections do not have, including wage garnishments without the need of a judgment, attaching your federal tax refund and even attaching social security retirement, so it is VERY IMPORTANT to work towards a repayment plan. There are frequent updates to legislation and regulations. The student loans world is changing a great deal.

I hope this helps! I recommend you peruse these links to find helpful information. If you aren’t sure where to turn next, a phone call to the Department of Education 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243)  is always a great fallback plan!


Your Friendly Neighborhood 

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