The more you know, the less you'll owe. Remember that your student loans are real loans that must be repaid, even if you don’t finish your degree. Keep your future salary in mind when borrowing and borrow the lowest amount possible.
Ten Things you should know about Student Loans
- Borrow only what you need. Student loans are a great way to help pay for school, but they must be paid back with interest.
- Have a plan. Map out the cost of your entire education and how you will pay for it.
- Create and follow a monthly budget. Know how much money you have and where it is going. Create an after-graduation budget to see how your loan payments will affect your lifestyle.
- Understand your loans. Do you know the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans? Federal and private loans? Fixed interest and variable interest loans? [http://financialaid.uc.edu/loans/loans.html]
- Know who “owns” your loan by accessing the National Student Loan Data System. Your loan servicer manages your federal loans and can assist you if you run into difficulty during repayment.
- Set up an online account with your servicer while you are still in school. You will be able to keep track of your loan activity and keep your contact information current, so you don’t miss any updates once you graduate.
- Make payments while you are still in school. Even if you make small payments ($5.00 per month), you will reduce your principal or interest before you are required to pay. This will lower your monthly payments after you graduate.
- Know what repayment options are available. Check out the repayment estimator to better assist you in finding the best option.
- Repayment is easier when your other debt is under control. Excessive credit card debt, lavish vacations, or a car that you really cannot afford may cause you difficulty repaying your student loans.
- Ask for help! Contact your servicer for options, as you may qualify for deferment or forbearance.
National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)
Tracking your student loan borrowing is easy with NSLDS. The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education's central database for student aid. It receives data from schools, the Direct Loan program, and other U.S. Department of Education programs. NSLDS provides a centralized, integrated view of a student's federal loan borrowing and federal grant usage.
- You will be assigned a loan servicer to manage the repayment of your Federal Student Loans.
- You will provide your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID username and password to access the NSLDS Student Access website.
- Need help with your FSA ID? Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.
- Click on each loan to view your loan servicer contact information.