How to Find Out if I Still Owe on a Federal Student Loan

by Matthew Schieltz ; Updated July 27, 2017

Losing track of your federal student loans can be easy to do, especially if you've obtained multiple loans or been in school for a long period. The Department of Education, however, stores the information on all your federal student loans in a database, such as how much you still owe and to whom you must make payments. You can find information on all your Title IV loans and grants, including Unsubsidized and Subsidized Stafford Loans and Perkins Loans.

Step 1

Open your browser and go to nslds.ed.gov, the National Student Loan Data System website.

Step 2

Choose the "Financial Aid Review" option. Enter your identification information, such as Social Security Number, date of birth, first two letters of your last name and your special Department of Education PIN number. Click "Submit."

Step 3

Review the information in the "Loans" section. Look in the "Loan Date" column if you're looking for a specific loan for which you know the approximate date of when you first obtained it. Look in the "Loan Amount" and "Disbursed Amount" columns to find the original loan amount and how much was actually disbursed. Generally, these two columns show the same amount. Review the amount shown that you still owe in the "Outstanding Principal" and "Outstanding Interest" columns.

Step 4

Click the number beside the federal student loan for which you'd like to view additional details. Find -- in the first section on the page -- the name of the school you were attending while you obtained the loan. Review the "Amounts and Dates" section to find the loan balance you owe "as of a certain date." Review the "Disbursement and Status" section to find the loan's current status (e.g., "Defaulted," "Deferred," "In Grace Period" or "Paid in Full").

Step 5

Write down or copy and paste the name and contact details of the current loan servicer or lender that the page reports in the "Servicer/Lender Agency Information" section. Call the loan servicer if you have additional questions, want to make payment arrangements or think you may actually owe less on the loan than what the NSLDS site reports.

Tips

  • New federal loans you've obtained generally get reported to the NSLDS within 30 days.

    If you've been making regular payments on your student loan, it's best to contact the loan servicer for up-to-date balance information as the NSLDS balance information may be as much as 120 days old.

    If different companies are listed for the loan servicer and lender in your NSLDS account, contact the loan servicer first.

    The "outstanding balance" may be greater than the original "loan amount" if interest and other fees have capitalized on the loan.

Warnings

  • The NSLDS does not contain information about private student loans and nursing or medical loans made through the federal government's Title VII program.

About the Author

Matthew Schieltz has been a freelance web writer since August 2006, and has experience writing a variety of informational articles, how-to guides, website and e-book content for organizations such as Demand Studios. Schieltz holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He plans to pursue graduate school in clinical psychology.