The student loan crisis has reached epic proportions, with total debt from education loans exceeding $1 trillion. With little to no help for student loan debts in bankruptcy, more and more people have been coming to me for solutions from other programs.
The first step in determining whether I can help, however, is to figure out whether the student loan is private or federal. Federal loans – including those incurred from schools, guaranty agencies, the Direct Loan program, and other Department of Education programs – provide with certain options that are not available from private lenders.
National Student Loan Data System
To find out if your student loan is federal, you need to go to the National Student Loan Data System. This website will give you all of the information you need to know about your federal loans, including:
- loan and/or grant amounts;
- outstanding balances;
- loan status; and
In order to use the NSLDS you’ll need to get a personal identification number (PIN). I can’t get it for you, nor can anyone else – you’re the only person allowed to request or use your PIN.
The PIN will be sent to you by email or regular mail and, once you receive it, you’ll be the only person allowed to use it. Would someone else necessarily know if you let another person use your PIN? Probably not, but it’s not that big of a deal for you to hop onto the website personally and print the screens for me to look at them.
Federal Student Aid Information Center
Some people either don’t have reliable Internet access or simply prefer to avoid going online for sensitive financial information. If that’s your situation, no worries.
You can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800A-FED-AID or 1-800-730-8913 and talk with one of the counselors on staff to find out what types of loans you have.
A Little Legwork Helps Us Work Together More Easily
If you don’t know whether your loans are federal or private, I can’t properly tell you about your options. Of course, there’s a lot more that goes into the student loan relief issue but this is going to give us a great head start when we work together.