College graduation, hurray you finished! You’ve got a shiny new degree to hang on your wall and probably a ton of student loan debt. You’re now about to start one of the most intimate and important relationships of your adult life – you and your student loan servicer.
If your loans include federal ones, that means you might be cozying up to MyFedLoan, the online user platform for FedLoan Servicing, for the next few years.
To help you get through that awkward getting to know you phase, I’m about to give you the ultimate guide to using MyFedLoan, including:
- What is MyFedLoan?
- Using the MyFedLoan servicing platform
- Repayment options available through MyFedLoan
- Negative MyFedLoan reviews
- MyFedLoan alternatives
And as a graduation gift from me to you, at the very end of this article, I’ve got some tips for turning yourself into the student loan debt destroyer you’ve always wanted to be.
How to use MyFedLoan: The Ultimate Guide
What is MyFedLoan?
MyFedLoan is the online user platform for FedLoan Servicing, which is a nonprofit organization run by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). (And yes, the Pennsylvania part is confusing because this organization handles student loans on a national level). MyFedLoan is where you’ll manage the repayment of a Direct Subsidized Loan, Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Direct PLUS Loan, or Direct Consolidation Loan.
You can use MyFedLoan to:
- Make your student loan payments
- Develop a repayment plan
- Track your loan repayment progress
- See if you qualify and apply for student loan forgiveness
- Receive documents for the student loan interest tax deduction
However, not everyone with a federal loan will go through FedLoan Servicing because there are actually nine different federal loan servicers, and you don’t pick which one you use – the government assigns one to you. Other servicers include Navient, Mohela, and Nelnet.
M$M tip: If you need motivation along your student loan payoff journey, here are 13 stories from student loan debt destroyers: How to Pay Off Student Loan Debt – These People Paid Off $600,000 of Student Loan Debt.
5 steps for using MyFedLoan
Starting to use the MyFedLoan platform just takes a few steps, and you can do it either through their full website or mobile app. To get started:
- Create an account. On the full website version, you can find where to create an account under the “Sign In” option in the top right corner of your screen. You will need to provide your name, email, address, date of birth, plus your Social Security Number or account number.
- Create a user name and secure password. Because you’re entering sensitive information, you’ll want to make sure you have a strong password and security questions.
- View your loans. This is the moment of truth when you get to see how much you owe on each of your student loans, including the due dates and interest rates.
- Take a look around the MyFedLoan portal. This platform has information on student loan basics, what to do if you fall behind on a payment, special programs for teachers and military, and an overview of your repayment options
- Choose a repayment option. See below.
Repayment options available through MyFedLoan
Now that you have your account set up and can see your loans, it’s time to choose a repayment option that works for you. And just to put this out there, you can always pay more than your monthly student loan payment. No matter which repayment option you choose, paying more than the minimum monthly payment will shorten the length of your loan and the amount you pay overall.
The repayment options available through MyFedLoan are:
- Standard Repayment. This option sets you up with a fixed monthly payment on a term of 10 years for unconsolidated loans and 30 years for consolidated ones.
- Graduated Repayment. This is a 10-year term that starts you out with a lower monthly payment that increases every two years.
People who graduate from college but aren’t making very much mone may find the graduated plan more appealing because the goal is to increase your earnings over time. However, you will pay more in interest over the course of your loan, meaning that the standard repayment option costs less over the long term.
If you are struggling with your repayment plan, there are more payment options using MyFedLoan:
- Extended Fixed Repayment. This is a 25-year term for your loan, meaning your monthly payments are lower. Because of interest, you will pay more over the life of your loan with this option.
- Extended Graduated Repayment. Similar to the Graduated Repayment, this repayment option starts with low monthly payments that increase every two years. The difference is that your loan extends up to 25 years. You will pay more over the life of your loan than the Standard, Graduated, or Extended Fixed Repayment options.
- Income Sensitive Repayment. If you cannot make your monthly payments because of your income, you can apply for this option which temporarily reduces your monthly payment. You will need to reapply annually, and your payment must be enough to cover the interest on your loan.
- PAYE. This is an income-driven repayment option that looks at your income and family size to determine a lower monthly payment that is generally around 10% of your monthly income. You make payments for up to 20 years.
- Income Based Repayment (IBR). This is another extended term option that looks at your income and family size. Your payments are typically 15% of your discretionary income.
- Income Contingent Repayment (ICR). This option looks at your income, family size, and loan debt. Your payments are generally the lesser of the following things: 20% of your discretionary income or the amount you would pay under a fixed repayment plan over 12 years.
- REPAYE. Similar to the PAYE option, but there are differences with your spouse’s income, capitalized amount, etc. Here’s a great article from NerdWallet about the differences between PAYE and REPAYE.
FAQs about using MyFedLoan
What should I be doing during my student loan grace period?
My first piece of advice would be to go ahead and start making payments if you can. After that, I’d suggest that you set up your account using the MyFedLoan advice I’ve given you and think about how you’ll be able to repay your loans. That six month grace period goes by quickly!
How do I make payments through MyFedLoan?
There are several different ways to make payments on your student loans using MyFedLoan. You can link your bank information and do direct debit, pay through their app, make one-time payments through their website, pay by phone (call 1-800-699-2908), or pay by mail.
What if I want to pay more than my monthly payment and target certain loans?
First of all, awesome! With targeted overpayments, you will still need to make the minimum payment on the rest of your loans, but here’s how to do a targeted payment using MyFedLoan:
- Sign into your account
- Click on the “Specify Loan Payment Amount” Tab
- Put the amount you’d like to pay in the “Payment Amount” field
- Hit “Make a Payment”
What if I want to pay my loans ahead of time?
That’s great! But, you will still need to make at least the monthly payment amount. And rather than just paying more ahead, which will go towards interest in the beginning, consider targeting your payments for loans with higher interest rates to reduce the amount you’ll be paying over the course of your loan, which will also reduce your term.
What if I need a deferment or forbearance?
If you are struggling to make your payments and find that one of the repayment options above doesn’t work for you, you can log in to your account using MyFedLoan and look under the “Manage Repayment” tab to see if you qualify for either option.
A deferment allows you to postpone your payments for up to 36 months, and the government will cover interest you accrue during your deferment for subsidized loans. A forbearance will postpone your payments for up to 12 months, but you will be responsible for the interest that your loans accrue.
M$M tip: If you are struggling to pay your student loans, I highly recommend increasing your income with a side hustle. That’s what I did, running Facebook ads for small businesses, and it’s what helped me pay off $40,000 in student loans in just 18 months. If you’re interested in earning an additional $1,000 a month, sign up for my Facebook Side Hustle Course.
What about Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)?
FedLoan Servicing is the only servicer that processes PSLF applications, and you can use MyFedLoan for downloading and submitting the Employer Certification Form.
Where do I find tax documents on MyFedLoan?
MyFedLoan will send you your necessary tax documents, but you can also log in to your account to access them under the “Account Access” tab.
What do I do when I’m ready to make my final payment?
Congrats, you’re almost finished!!
To make your final payment, log in to your account and select “Loan Payoff” under Payments & Billing. Your payment will need to be received within 10 days after you get your final payment amount so that interest doesn’t continue to accrue which will change the amount of your final payment.
Negative MyFedLoan reviews
Here’s the big bummer about using MyFedLoan… there are a bunch of negative reviews. Actually, if you search “MyFedLoan Review,” negative reviews are about all you’re going to get.
The top complaints are for customer service, how they handle Public Service Loan Forgiveness, the handling of income-driven repayments, and payment processing. And while the Better Business Bureau (BBB) can’t officially accept complaints about government agencies, they’ve received over 627 complaints in the past three years.
The even bigger bummer is that you can’t really switch student loan servicers. While I have no real advice on how to deal with this, just know that you won’t be paying on your student loans forever.
I know I just said that you can’t switch student loan servicers, like going from using MyFedLoan to Navient, for example, but consolidating or refinancing your student loans might be an option.
Consolidating your student loans
Consolidating your loans is when you gather each of those smaller loan amounts and roll them into one larger loan amount. This is only available for federal student loans, and a consolidated loan takes the weighted average of your interest rates on all of your loans and rounds that up to nearest 1/8th of a percent.
While it makes your repayment easier to manage, it could actually raise the amount you pay in interest overall. People who are interested in an income-driven repayment plan may need to consolidate their student loans.
Refinancing your student loans with a private lender
Refinancing your student loans is when you work with a private lender to borrow an amount that will replace your student loans with one loan that ideally comes at a lower interest rate.
This alternative to using MyFedLoan can save you a significant amount of money over the term of your loan, but the downside is that you will lose any of the protections offered by federal student loan servicers. These are things like income-driven repayment options and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
There are a ton of companies out there for refinancing your student loans, and I highly recommend Credible. For full disclosure, I am an affiliate for Credible, but I only went into that partnership after getting to know the company and believing in what they do. I only work with companies that I trust and that I believe will help my readers.
You can read more about student loan refinancing and whether or not you’re a good candidate in my article Refinancing Student Loans: The Ultimate Guide.
My final word on using MyFedLoan
Student loans unquestionably suck, but the good news is that you don’t have to be stuck with them for the rest of your life. If you’re using MyFedLoan for student loan servicing, it won’t be forever, and you can actually speed up the process if you really want to. The advice in that article is the graduation gift I promised you, and it includes valuable information on:
- Utilizing your grace period
- Keeping your living expenses low
- Starting a side hustle
- Advice on paying more towards your loans
MyFedLoan doesn’t have great reviews, but if you stay on top of your account by checking in regularly, make your payments on time or more than the minimum, you’ll be finished with them one day in the future.
To make that student loan free future happen sooner than later, refinancing is a great option but so is a side hustle.
You’ve got this. I’ve been there, and there are currently 44.7 million people dealing with student loans just like you. That’s a staggering number, but know that you’re not alone.