College Financial Aid Info/Post undergrad. student loans


Hi Steve,

During college there was some juggling of finances between my two divorced parents and I trying to come up with money for school. Within that time frame there was a definite lack of communication and I lost track of the numerous student loans we took out.

It's now been more than a year since graduation and I am trying to make sure that I have a clear idea of the total amount I owe, but I'm wondering if there are any more notifications I'll get from loan companies that I owe to.

Would I have gotten at least some notification from any/all companies I owe to since it has been this long since graduation?



Hi Annie,

The short answer is yes.

Assuming these loans are Federal Student Loans (such as Stafford or Perkins loans), you would have received notice on a regular basis.  This is, as long as the lender had your mailing address.  If they didn't have your current mailing address AND if the United States Postal Service notified them that they were sending mailings to the wrong, they would have tried to find you using a quaint little process called "Skip Tracing".

Notice I capitalized the word "AND".  This is important.  If someone doesn't bother telling the lender you're not at that address anymore, they will keep sending mailings to that address because the assumption is you're receiving the mail.

Frankly, if it's been 270 days or greater since you've heard from them, you may have a problem or two.  However, before we go into crisis mode, let's do some research.

First steps:
1) If you do not have a U.S. Department of Education PIN, Go to  If you do have a PIN, skip to step 3.
2) Request a PIN to be sent to you.  This may take a little time to complete.
3) Go to
4) Log in using the PIN you received from Step 2.
5) Once you log in, you will be able to examine ONLY those loans made under programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA).  This will not include any private loans.
6) Next, go to  This will give you information on pulling your free annual credit report from all three credit bureaus.

Once you've done this, it'll give you an idea of where your loans are at and their status.  If you see the words "Default", "Collections", or "Paid Government Claim", please feel free to come back and I can help you formulate a strategy for dealing with the loans.  If the loans reflect a different status, my suggestion would be to call those lenders as soon as possible and begin making payment arrangements.

I hope this helps.  Again, please feel free to come back if you need to follow up.

Steve McKnelly

College Financial Aid Info

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Steve McKnelly


I am well versed on issues surrounding post-secondary federal student aid, as administered by the U.S. Department of Education. This includes Stafford and Perkins loans as well as Pell and FSEOG grants. If a question is fielded concerning private student aid, such as career loans issued by a private lender, I may not be able to answer the question.


I worked for a federal contractor on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education. I worked in the Federal Student Aid Information Center for 11 months; the Default Resolution Group for 7 months; and as a research specialist for the Ombudsman Group for 11 years. I was considered a subject matter expert in bankruptcy and litigation, relative to federal student loans.

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