Paying off your private student loans can be daunting. Begin by gathering all information on the private loans you requested as a student. If you happen to be organized enough to have a file containing all your private student loan correspondence, pull it out. If you don't have a file, create one and put all of your private loan information into it.
If you have federal loans, keep that information in a separate file, because federal loans have different rules and contract terms.
But what if you're not sure how many private loans you have because you took out a new one every semester, there are at least two or three lenders involved, or you can't recall the company names? No problem. There's an easy and often free fix: Pull your credit report, which lists all of your debt, down to the loans you took out your first year in college, with the remaining balances posted along with your payment history.
Private Student Loans: Gathering Information Checklist
- Get out your file containing all your information on your private loan debt.
- If you don't have a file, make one. Fill it with all the information you gather on your private student loans.
- Go online to AnnualCreditReport.com to obtain free copies of your credit reports from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. You're entitled to one free report per year per bureau, and you'll be able to review your full credit reports online. Use the credit reports to find out how much you owe, to whom you owe, and how to contact your lenders.
- Make sure you print a copy to review and save the reports to a file on your computer.
- Before you scroll down the computer screen to see how much and to whom you owe, remind yourself that you'll start to see the balances go down once you start making payments based on your personal student loan payoff strategy.
- Cross-reference all three reports, just in case one of your loans appears only on one or two of your reports, or if you have a loan that reported your payment history to one but not the others.