This post is in partnership with Student Loan Hero, and is provided for a general audience. It is not intended to act as financial or professional advice.. All views expressed are my own, and were not influenced by Student Loan Hero.
When I first heard about Student Loan Hero, I was intrigued. I knew a few of my friends had a hard time keeping track of all their loans and loan servicers through the years. I heard that there was a dashboard that collected all that information in one place for borrowers, and I thought, “That’s an important tool. Now borrowers can feel like they can get it together.” Because borrowers know that getting organized is one small battle in the war against your student loan debt.
To utilize the dashboard, create a free account on the Student Loan Hero site. Once you have a login and password, you’ll need a FSA ID. It took me exactly five minutes to create one, and that’s because I was playing around with password ideas. Once I got my FSA ID, I entered it into the designated box and Student Loan Hero was able to pull my student loan information from the federal database.
I’m lucky. I have one loan now, since I consolidated over a decade ago. I never had private loans, but if I did, I would have to manually upload that information into the dashboard myself. I think it would be worth it, though, to have everything in one place. Then, you can face your total, the interest rates, and the various servicers. Once you’ve taken a hard look at the scope of your loans, then you can start making a plan of attack.
The Student Loan Hero dashboard is one tool in your arsenal. But, Student Loan Hero has other tools at your disposal, as well. For instance, if you’re reading over your statement, and you have no idea what a word means (like “grace interval“) then you can head over to Student Loan Hero and look it up in their Student Loan Glossary. It’s in alphabetical order and it is thorough.
Try the calculators for some idea of how long it will take you to pay off one loan…or more. I think this is an excellent way to weigh your options. Keep plugging in numbers until something appeals to you. I entered my current loan amount ($11,478) and interest rate (3.12%) and out of curiosity chose two years as the loan term. It turns out that if I stretch my repayment plan out for two years, then I’ll only need to pay a little less than $500 a month. Tempting, but I’m still going to make as many monster payments as I can so I can get rid of it ASAP.
Once you have all your loan information in one place, and you understand the terms that servicers are throwing at you, it’s a good idea to decide on a strategy for paying off the total. Look at the interest rates and see if a debt snowball is your best bet. Maybe refinancing will lower your interest rate and your monthly payment. It’s possible that you could qualify for a student loan forgiveness program, or an income-driven repayment plan. Be sure to check out the Directory of Repayment Plans on the Student Loan Hero site. If you work in a certain profession, you may qualify for forgiveness. If you make a certain amount of money, you may not have to pay back everything that you borrowed. The list reveals a variety of options. It’s worth studying.
If you decide that refinancing your student loans is the way to go, then you’re in luck. And the right place. Student Loan Hero partners with some of the most dedicated banks in the business. On the sidebar in the dashboard, in a blog post, or at the end of every post on the blog, you’ll see a list of the best options for refinancing your loans. The bank name, interest rates, loan types, terms, eligible degrees and eligible loans are all spelled out. You can click to learn more about each option. When you click, you’re taken straight to each bank’s site.
One more important tool that Student Loan Hero provides is the comprehensive student loan report, tailored to your situation, because they know that each borrower, and each borrower’s situation, is unique. The founder and CEO, Andy Josuweit, had his own unique student loan situation to deal with. Josuweit graduated with $104,000 in student loan debt. After three years of navigating his way through confusing advice from his loan servicers, as well as from banks and debt collectors, Josuweit took action. He started Student Loan Hero in 2012 to help keep other borrowers from having to deal with unhelpful, and often biased, advice.
If you’re faced with any amount of student loan debt, and you have several loans from many different lenders, Student Loan Hero is one way to take an honest look at your situation. Upload your loans. Download your report. Explore your options. Student loan debt doesn’t have to be forever. It doesn’t have to feel so hopeless. You’re not alone. And you’ve got plenty of tools at your disposal to help. Student Loan Hero is one of them.