- How do I create an FSA ID?
To create an FSA ID, visit FSAID.ed.gov. You will be prompted to create a username and password. The site will also request personal identifying information including your name, Social Security number and date of birth. As an added security measure, you will create multiple challenge questions associated with your FSA ID.
For immediate access to federal student aid websites, you can link your four-digit FAFSA PIN to your FSA ID. If you have forgotten your PIN, the Social Security Administration will need to verify your identity in order to create your FSA ID, a process that usually takes one-to-three days. After this waiting period, you will have full access to the federal websites.
- I’m not sure how much I owe or who my lenders are. Where can I see all my student loans?
You may have loans with several different lenders, managed by different loan servicers. If you have federal student loans, you can find information about yours in the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). This system can provide the name and contact information for your lender and/or servicer, your balance, the date your loan was disbursed, and your repayment status. You can also find information about your federal student loans at StudentLoans.gov.
The sites providing information for your federal loans will not show a record of any private student loans. If you have private student loans, you can find information about those on your credit report. You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every year from each of the three major credit bureaus. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to order a copy of your report.
- How do I log into the NSLDS?
To log into NSLDS, you will need an FSA ID. This ID replaces the FAFSA Pin. Students will now use the FSA ID in all stages of the financial aid process, from when they first apply for financial loans to when they begin repaying their debt. The four-digit FAFSA PIN is no longer in use.
Visit the NSLDS website and click the “Financial Aid Review” button. To move forward, you will need to accept a privacy disclosure. Once accepted, existing users can log into the system using their username and password (FSA ID). New users will have the option to create an FSA ID.
- Do I still need my federal Pin?
In 2015, the FSA ID replaced the federal PIN, or FAFSA PIN. All past and present borrowers will need to establish an FSA ID to access their account information on federal student aid websites. To create an FSA ID, visit FSAID.ed.gov.
- I am behind on my payments and am worried about my wages being garnished. Could that happen to me?
If your student loan is delinquent, you may be charged late fees and could start to receive collection calls. Your missed payments may also be reported to the credit bureaus, which could seriously impact your credit score.
If you have missed enough payments that your loan has defaulted (270 days without a payment for most federal loans), you could face a number of potential consequences, such as:
- Wage garnishment
- Withholding of tax refunds and/or other federal benefits
- Loss of eligibility for deferment, forbearance and repayment plans
- Loss of eligibility for additional federal student aid
- Legal action
If your loan has not yet defaulted, you may be able to prevent default by requesting a deferment or forbearance, or by enrolling the loan on a more affordable repayment plan. If your loan is already in default, you may be able to remove the loan from default through rehabilitation or loan consolidation.
- I can’t afford my payments. What can I do?
If you cannot afford to make your student loan payments, it is important to get in touch with your loan holder right away to review your options. Should you delay contacting your servicer and miss payments, you could severely damage your credit. Fortunately, there may be a number of alternative options available to help keep you from falling behind on payments.
Depending on your loans, you may qualify for:
- Graduated or extended repayment plans
- Income-based repayment plans
As soon as you realize you may not be able to afford your payments, reach out to your servicer to discuss your options.
- Should I consolidate my student loans? What are the pros and cons of consolidating?
Federal loan consolidation is often a great option for student loan borrowers because it can bring benefits such as:
- Convenience of one monthly payment
- Communication with only one lender
- Lower total monthly payment
- Potential eligibility for additional repayment plans
- Possible renewed deferment benefits
Since loan consolidation is permanent (once loans are consolidated, they cannot be pulled back out and paid separately), it may not be the best solution for everyone. It is important to evaluate whether consolidation makes sense for your situation before deciding to combine your loans.
Some considerations to think about before consolidating:
- You may pay more in total interest if you extend your repayment term
- You may lose special benefits attached to your original loans
- Certain loans may have special interest benefits or cancellation benefits that are lost if consolidated
- Private student loans cannot be included in a federal loan consolidation
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