How do we know if these student loans are private or federal?


Q. Our son has both subsidized and unsubsidized loans. How do we know if they are private? And when they discuss the possible legislation of eliminating student loans, are they referring to both subsidized and unsubsidized loans?
— Dad

A. It’s important to understand your loans and how they work.

There are a few ways to check if student loans are “private” or “federal.”

The first place to start is at, said Ken Van Leeuwen, a certified financial planner with Van Leeuwen & Company in Princeton.

He said the website contains information on all federal student loans, and your son just needs his FSA ID to gain access to the site and view his loan information.

“If his loans are private, they will not show up on this website,” he said. “You can also contact your son’s loan servicer at (800) 4-FED-AID to determine if his student loans are serviced by one of the nine possible federal student loan servicers.”

If neither of these two options allow him to verify his student loan information, it is likely that his loans are through a private lender, he said

Borrowers have been eager to hear what could happen with their loans if Congress takes action, but nothing has been decided yet.

Van Leeuwen said the one thing that’s clear is that it would not apply to private student loans.

“If your son’s loans are federal loans, it appears that any cancellation would apply to both subsidized and unsubsidized loans,” he said. “There may be other factors that apply to who will be eligible to receive student loan cancellation as well, and it may not apply to everyone with federal loans, if legislation to cancel loans is passed at all.”

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This story was originally published on Jan. 17, 2022. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.