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Understanding a Student Loan Statement: What It Is & How to Read It

By Josephine Nesbit · June 15, 2022 · 6 minute read

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Understanding a Student Loan Statement: What It Is & How to Read It

Your student loan statement gives you all the important information about your student loan. If you took out one or more student loans to help pay for college, knowing how to read your student loan statements can help you manage your student debt and repayment.

What Are Student Loan Statements?

Student loan statements are detailed summaries of your student loan. They provide information such as the last payment received, the current amount due, and where to send payments.

You’ll typically receive your student loan statement from your loan servicer three weeks before payment is due each month. If you have multiple student loans with more than one servicer, you’ll receive a student loan statement from each servicer every month.

Why Is It Important to Know How Much You Owe?

Keeping track of any debt is essential. You’re responsible for your student loan debt and making monthly payments on time until it’s paid off. Even missing one payment could cause you to fall behind.

A missed or late payment on your student loan debt could also hurt your credit. Your payment history makes up 35% of your FICO® credit score, so having late payments in your recent credit history could make it more difficult to be approved for credit cards or other loans.

Missed student loan payments may also incur late fees. Private lenders have their own rules when it comes to late fees and consequences, but they may start adding late fees after a grace period. Private student loans usually go into default as soon as you miss three monthly payments, but some go into default after one missed payment.

If you default on a federal student loan, usually after payment is 270 days past due, the government can collect your debt by withholding money from your wages and your income tax refund and other federal payments.

Where Do I Find My Student Loan Statement?

Your first student loan statement will typically come by mail from your student loan servicer unless you’ve already opted to receive statements online. If you haven’t received your first student loan statement or if you’re not sure, there are ways to find your student loan balance.

Private Student Loans

If you took advantage of private student loan options, you can contact your lender or loan servicer directly and ask them how to get your student loan statements. If the loan servicer has changed, you should have been notified.

You can also try contacting your school’s financial aid office for information about your private student loan and the company that originated your loan.

Another option is to get a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. This will give you details on your original lender, whom you can call to find your loan servicer.

Recommended: Guide To Private Student Loans 

Federal Student Loans

If you have federal student loans, there are a few ways to find your student loan statement.

One way is to go to studentaid.gov and log in with your FSA ID (the username and password you used to electronically sign your FAFSA).

You can find your student loan balances, loan servicers, and interest rates on the site.

As with private student loans, you can also contact your school’s financial aid office for more information on your federal student loans.

Recommended: FAFSA Guide

Student Loan Statements

Not all student loan statements look the same, but they generally provide the same key details about your student loan. Knowing how to read your student loan statement is an important step in helping you manage your student loan debt.

Payment Summary

The payment summary shows the current amount due if payment is made by the due date. If you have other amounts due in addition to the current payment, like fees or a past due amount, those will also be shown in the payment summary.

Monthly Payment

The monthly payment will tell you what you are expected to pay, which includes the principal and interest, by the due date. The principal is the amount you borrowed, and the interest is what you’re paying to borrow the money.

Your required payment will be the same each month unless you chose a variable rate for a private student loan or you’re enrolled in a federal income-driven plan.

Recommended: 7 Tips to Lower Your Student Loan Payments

Amortization Schedule

Your student loan repayment follows an student loan amortization schedule. Amortization is the process of paying back an installment loan through regular payments. When a student loan is amortized, it means that your monthly payment is divided into principal and interest payments.

Current Balance

Your current balance is what you owe on the date of the student loan statement. This is the total amount, including principal, interest, and any fees.

Original Balance

Your original balance is the amount that you borrowed before you made any payments toward your student loan.

Interest Rate

The interest rate on your student loan is how much you pay to borrow the funds.

The fixed rate for federal student loans depends on the type of loan. Loans for graduate or professional school run higher than loans for undergraduate study.

Private lenders determine rates for borrowers based on their creditworthiness. They offer undergraduate loans and graduate student loan options.

As you make payments on your student loan, the balance and accrued interest will shrink. Less interest charged means more of your monthly payments are applied to your principal balance.

Managing Your Student Loans

After you know your loan servicer, you can easily manage your student loans. Student loan management may be different depending on whether you have a federal student loan or a student loan from a private lender.

Federal student loans allow you to select a repayment plan. Repayment plans are typically divided into traditional plans and income-driven plans. This allows you a choice: quickly paying off student loan debt to minimize interest charges or lower monthly payments for greater affordability.

You may also defer repayment for a variety of reasons, or if your loan servicer grants forbearance, your monthly payment can be reduced or postponed for a limited amount of time due to financial hardship. You can also consolidate your federal student loans or refinance federal and private student loans, resulting in one monthly payment.

Private lenders may have their own flexible repayment plans. They may offer you the choice of deferring payments, paying interest only, paying your full monthly payment, or making a low fixed payment while you’re still in school.

Should You Refinance or Consolidate to Simplify Repayment?

Combining multiple student loans into a single loan with one monthly bill can simplify your student loan repayment. However, the choice to consolidate student loans vs. refinance depends on your personal situation and your end game.

Federal student loan consolidation combines multiple federal loans into a single loan through the Department of Education. Consolidating federal student loans can also make you eligible for some federal loan repayment programs. Federal consolidation won’t lower your interest rate but does lower your monthly payments by extending the repayment period. (A longer repayment period means more total interest paid over the life of the loan.)

Private lenders offer student loan refinancing — some refinance both federal and private student loans — which means paying off your current loans with one new private student loan, ideally with a lower interest rate.

Ways to Consolidate Student Loans

Consolidating your federal student loans typically involves applying for a Direct Consolidation Loan through the Department of Education at no cost. There are several more options if you want to consolidate your student loans.

Credit Card

It’s possible to consolidate your student loans by using a balance transfer credit card. You could transfer some or all of your student loan debt to a 0% limited-time rate to save on interest.

This can help if you plan to pay off a large amount of your student debt within the 0% period. But regular credit card interest rates tend to be higher than student loan interest rates. If you don’t pay your student loan debt before the end of the introductory period, you may end up paying much more in interest.

Refinance Student Loans

You can also combine multiple student loans into a single new loan by refinancing. This could also lower your interest rate and monthly payments. Private lenders will consider your creditworthiness when determining your eligibility. You might be able to add a cosigner.

Be aware that refinancing federal student loans removes eligibility for income-driven repayment, deferment, and other federal programs, but a lower rate could make it worthwhile for some.

Grants

Grants are another option to pay off student loans and get out of debt faster. Grants are a form of gift aid, and student grants can be found through federal and state government-funded programs as well as nonprofit organizations.

The Takeaway

Your student loan statements give all the details of your debt. If your balance or rate is high, refinancing your student loans may be an option worth considering, to simplify your debt management and potentially lower your interest rate.

SoFi refinances both federal and private student loans. There are no fees, and you can choose a low fixed or variable rate.

Find your rate on student loan refinancing with SoFi. It only takes two minutes.

FAQ

What is a student loan statement?

A student loan statement gives you a detailed breakdown of your loan, including the last payment received, the current amount due, and where to send your payments.

How do I get to my student loan statement?

Federal student loan borrowers can get their student loan statements from their loan servicer. If you don’t know who your loan servicer is, visit your Federal Student Aid account dashboard.

Private student loan borrowers can contact their lender or loan servicer directly to ask for student loan statements. If you’re unsure who your lender is, you can get a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies or contact your school’s financial aid office.

How do I read student loan statements?

Not all student loan statements look the same, but they generally provide the same information. Your student loan statement should give you a payment summary and tell you your monthly payment amount, due date, current and original balance, and interest rate.


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SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are looking to refinance federal student loans, please be aware that the White House has announced up to $20,000 of student loan forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for qualifying borrowers whose student loans are federally held. Additionally, the federal student loan payment pause and interest holiday has been extended beyond December 31, 2022. Please carefully consider these changes before refinancing federally held loans with SoFi, since the amount or portion of your federal student debt that you refinance will no longer qualify for the federal loan payment suspension, interest waiver, or any other current or future benefits applicable to federal loans. If you qualify for federal student loan forgiveness and still wish to refinance, leave unrefinanced the amount you expect to be forgiven to receive your federal benefit.

CLICK HERE for more information.


Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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