What you need to know to tackle your student loans on your own and how to recognize when you need help.
When you’re looking for help with your student loan problems, you’ve got three questions you need to answer before you can get help with your student loan problems.
Some of these questions can be answered easily. Others, not so much.
Better dig in and get your hands dirty.
Is your student loan federal, private, or do you have a mix?
Identifying your loan as federal or private is easy enough for most people.
Contacting the lender, servicer, or debt collector should get you the answer. If you don’t trust the answer you get, go here: www.nslds.ed.gov. This is the US Department of Education’s database of federal loans.
If your loan isn’t listed, it is most likely a private loan. If this does not help, request a copy of your promissory note.
What’s the status?
Figuring out the status of your loan should also be an easy task.
Again, the lender, servicer, or debt collector should be able to tell you.
If a debt collector is calling, you are likely in default since debt collectors usually only work on default accounts. If you pulled information from the NSLDS website, it will state what the current status of the loan is.
You should also be able to tell from your payment history – if you have not made a payment in a few months, you are definitely not current.
If you have not paid in over a year, your loan is in default.
What are your options?
Identifying your options, unfortunately, is not nearly as easy as it should be. In my experience, lenders, servicers, and debt collectors do a terrible job informing you of options. If they did their job correctly, there would not be a need for my services. Further, options available for federal loans are vastly different than options for private loans, and all options are based on the current status of the loans.
If you are missing answers to any of the questions then you need help.
Without these answers, it is impossible to move forward with managing your student loans.
Once you know the answers you may need help, but of a different sort.
If you are in default, you’re going to want help in understanding your options.
If you are struggling to make payments, you need to learn all options available with the pros and cons to figure out how best to handle your loans.
But without the initial three questions answered, you’ll never know which way to turn.
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