Back to top

How do I know what kind of loan I have?

There are two kinds of student loans: Federal and private. They are treated differently and follow different rules. Knowing what kind of loan you have will help you figure out what your options are. Here are some tips for finding out which kind of loans you have:

  • The National Student Loan Data System is the U.S. Department of Education’s database for student aid. You can look here to find out if you have any federal student loans. This will only give you information about FEDERAL student loans, not private loans.

  • If you don't know whether you have private loans, check your credit report. Any private loans should show up on your report. You can get one free credit report every year. Request your free credit report.

  • Another sign that a loan is private is if you had a co-signer. Federal loans do not have co-signers.

  • There are different types of federal loans (Direct, FFEL, Perkins, Stafford, PLUS, etc.). To figure out what type of federal loan you have, look at the promissory note and application.

  • You can also look at the top of your monthly bill – the name of the program should be listed there.

  • If your interest rate is above 8.5% you may have a private loan rather than a federal loan.