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

By Josephine Nesbit · October 23, 2023 · 8 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. But a temporary “on-ramp” protection will generally prevent most federal student loans from entering defaulted loan status from the 12-month period of October 2023 through September 2024.

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Where Do I Find My Student Loan Statement?

Your student loan statement will typically come by mail from your student loan servicer unless you’ve opted to receive statements online.

Borrowers are generally expected to make required loan payments when due. The 2023 debt ceiling bill officially ended the three-year Covid-19 forbearance, requiring federal student loan interest accrual to resume on Sept. 1, 2023, and payments to resume in October 2023.

If you haven’t received any student loan statements or if you’re not sure, there are ways to find your student loan balance, such as requesting and reading your credit report.

Private Student Loans

If you have private student loans, you can contact your lender directly and ask them how to get your student loan statements. 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, Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion®. This may give you basic information on any active student loan accounts you have opened in your name.

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 Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. 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 for the life of your loan unless you’ve chosen a variable rate for a private student loan or you’re enrolled in a federal income-driven repayment (IDR) plan.

Recommended: 7 Tips to Lower Your Student Loan Payments

Amortization Schedule

Your student loan repayment follows a 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. Federal loans issued since July 2006 have fixed interest rates, meaning they don’t change over the life of the loan.

The fixed rate for federal student loans depends on the type of loan. Federal student loans for graduate or professional school typically charge higher rates than federal loans for undergraduate study.

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

Negative amortization — having your loan balance grow over time if your monthly payment amount is less than the interest accruing — generally won’t occur if you make payments on the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan. That’s because the SAVE Plan offers a permanent interest subsidy that helps prevent your federal loan balance from growing if you qualify for a $0 (or very low) monthly payment.

Managing Your Student Loans

After you know your lender or 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 IDR plans, such as the SAVE Plan. This allows you a choice: quickly paying off student loan debt to minimize interest charges or lower monthly payments for greater affordability.

You can also consolidate your federal student loans or refinance federal and private student loans, resulting in one monthly payment. You may pay more interest over the life of the loan if you refinance with an extended term.

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.


💡 Quick Tip: Ready to refinance your student loan? You could save thousands.

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 U.S. Department of Education. Federal consolidation generally won’t lower your total interest costs but can 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.


💡 Quick Tip: When rates are low, refinancing student loans could make a lot of sense. How much could you save? Find out using our student loan refi calculator.

The Takeaway

Your student loan statements give all the details of your debt. Federal student loan borrowers can expect to receive billing statements now that the pandemic-related payment pause has ended.

Looking to lower your monthly student loan payment? Refinancing may be one way to do it — by extending your loan term, getting a lower interest rate than what you currently have, or both. (Please note that refinancing federal loans makes them ineligible for federal forgiveness and protections. Also, lengthening your loan term may mean paying more in interest over the life of the loan.) SoFi student loan refinancing offers flexible terms that fit your budget.


With SoFi, refinancing is fast, easy, and all online. We offer competitive fixed and variable rates.

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 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.


SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.


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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


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.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility-criteria for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.


Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Photo credit: iStock/Ridofranz
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