Organize your student loans

You probably left school with a combination of federal and private student loans. Each type has different benefits and features, so this is a good time to note the amounts, interest rates, and payment requirements of each.

Create your student loan resource

A simple, five-column spreadsheet can help you keep track of your student loan servicer information, loan payment details, and loan terms so they're easier to find when you need them.

Step 1. Gather your documents.

  • Financial aid award letters that you received each year describing your federal aid and federal loan eligibility.
  • Promissory notes, the legal contracts detailing the terms that you received when you originally signed for your student loans.
  • Disclosure documents that you received when you applied for the student loan; these include specific information about rates, fees, disbursement dates, and amounts.
  • Exit interview information that you got from your school financial aid counselors when you were about to leave school.
  • Monthly billing statements and emails from your loan servicers.

Step 2. Create a five-column spreadsheet with this information.

1. Type of student loan: Is it federal (subsidized or unsubsidized) or private?

Federal: Go to for information on federal student loans.

Private: Request a free credit report from It lists the student loans that are reported to the consumer reporting agencies (most servicers report their loans).

2. Name of the servicer: Your servicer is the company that manages your loan. It may be the original company that lent you the money, but not necessarily. If you have a Sallie Mae private student loan, we're usually your servicer.

3. Servicer's phone number: Ours is 800-472-5543 (800-4-SALLIE).

4. Interest rate and type: Include both the rate and whether it's fixed (an interest rate that stays the same for the life of the loan) or variable (an interest rate that may go up or down due to an increase or decrease to the loan's index).

5. Ending date of your separation or grace period: If your student loan doesn't have a separation or grace period, contact your servicer at least 30 days before you graduate or leave school to make sure you know when your first principal and interest payment is due. A Smart Option Student Loan® has a six-month separation or grace period after you graduate or leave school.

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