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Congratulations, you’ve finally graduated from college! You’ve got the diploma to prove it—and the student loans.

Unfortunately, student loans can be pretty confusing. You know that you have a six month grace period where you don’t have to make any payments, but other than that, you don’t even know what you don’t know.

If you’re anything like me when I graduated, you’ve got a lot of questions when it comes to paying back your student loans. How can I manage my student loan debt? How can I make my student loans less confusing? How can I pay off my student loans as fast as possible? 

The answer to all of these questions, luckily, boils down to one simple piece of advice: If you want to be successful in paying off your student loans, you need to be organized. And to be organized, you need to keep track of your student loans.

By keeping track of your student loans, you’ll always be able to answer important questions like:

  • How many student loans do I have?
  • How much do I owe on my student loans in total?
  • Are my student loans federal, private, or a mix?
  • If they’re private student loans, is the interest rate variable or fixed?
  • If they’re federal student loans, are they subsidized or unsubsidized?

The answers to these questions will ultimately impact the strategies that you use to pay off your student loans, so it’s important for you to quickly and easily be able to access the information. For example, knowing whether your loans are federal or private might impact your decision to refinance; knowing if your federal loans are subsidized or unsubsidized may make you think  twice about entering deferment.

Beyond this, keeping track of your student loans will allow you to have a quick snapshot of your finances. Once you have all of your student loan information gathered together in one place, you’ll be able to quickly check in to see the progress you’ve made in paying down your debt.

Just like you should always know how much money is in your checking account, or how much you’ve got saved for emergencies, you should be able to answer these questions.

At this point, you’re probably feeling really overwhelmed. How do I track my student loans? Where can I find all of this student loan information?

It’s completely understandable that you’ll feel a little overwhelmed at first, but I’ve got some good news for you: It really isn’t as hard or as complicated as it seems. To make things easier, I’ve written the step-by-step guide below on how to keep track of your student loans. Just follow these steps and you’ll be one step closer to paying off your student loans.

 

A Note Before Beginning

The steps below assume that you have already graduated from college, but that doesn’t mean that you need to wait until you graduate to begin tracking your student loan information.

In fact, starting while you are still a student is  much better idea. By keeping track of your student loans as you take them out each semester, you won’t need to go hunting for the information after you graduate.

Plus, tracking your student loans while you are a student can help you shift your mindset about finances. Unless you have federal student loans that are subsidized by the federal government, your student loans are going to begin accruing interest from the day that you first take them out.