How To Use [Explained] is your one stop for all federal student loan related queries. Learn more about how you can use it to help you in getting federal student loans and your repayment journey.

Updated by Jason Joy Manoj on 5th November 2019

Looking for a one-stop location to help manage your federal student loans? Look no further you have as your helper. This website will act as the core of all activities and solutions for queries regarding your federal student loans. 

Due to a fear of data breach the internal revenue service had shut down its data retrieval tool. This was done in good intention with their users in mind but this left a majority of the federal student loan borrowers in disbelief and confusion.

This tool was responsible for providing an easy way for borrowers to apply for Income-Driven Repayment. But in two months the feature was back but this time it was back as This website is the federal student aid site of the Department of Education. Read more to find out how you can make the best use of this website.

Table of contents 

Who is for?

This website is specifically for those who are either:

  • Graduates who have just graduated and are in the process of repaying their debt.

  • Individuals looking to get loans to fund their education. They can be students or parents

Those who have queries regarding their federal loans can find relevant and resourceful content on the website. They have had technical issues in the past, they have a user-friendly navigation system which helps users easily handle the website and get the information they need. 

Getting started with

In order to log into the website you need an FSA ID, here are the steps to help you get an FSA ID:

  1. Fill up the form by going to

  2. Verify your age stating that you are at least 13 years old

  3. Create a username, password and also provide your email address. This ID created will act as an electronic signature in case you would like to apply for financial aid or sign a loan promissory note or any other legal document through the website.

  4. You will have to further provide your social security number, date of birth, contact, and information and in addition to all of this you will have to provide answers to some challenging questions.

  5. You will have to accept some terms and conditions before going further so it is advised to check all the information you have entered so far.

  6. As per the email provided to create your FSA ID you will receive a code to that email address to verify. You have to option to use that email address instead of a username. 

After obtaining this FSA ID you can file a FAFSA right away. It should be noted that there might be a delay in login with other US Department Education websites using the same FSA ID.

What can I do with

As discussed earlier this website is your one-stop to manage your federal loans, let's get into detail with everything you can do once logged into this site:

1) Apply for student loans 

There are a number of loans that you can apply for on this website and each loan will require different details. Undergraduate students will be directed to to apply for loans they eligible for. Graduate students, professional students, and even parents can apply for PLUS loans here.

2)Get access to videos that educate viewers on student loans 

There are a number of videos present on the site which cover topics such as the various repayment options available to you, student aid programs available, steps to be taken in case you forget your FSA ID, tips for parents regarding the FAFSA form, and more.

3) Counseling on Debt 

There is a false notion that counseling regarding debt should start once you are neck-deep in debt, but that is not true. You can start educating yourself on matters concerning debt even while you decide to take up a student loan. 

As per the website, these counseling sessions take about 20-30 minutes.

4) Take an appeal against a credit decision 

If a borrower is unhappy with a decision taken regarding the loan application or credit, he/she can appeal this decision taken via the website.

5) Apply for an income-driven repayment plan  

Are you finding it difficult to meet your monthly payments? Then you should consider an income-driven repayment plan which will adjust your monthly payments as per your income. 

There are a number of income-driven repayment plans available, it is advisable to go through all the plans and then make a decision. 

6) Looking for a co-signer or endorser?

This application is important for parent PLUS loans, for those borrowers who need a co-signer for their loan they can get help on the website.

7) Repayment estimator 

Before getting yourself into a loan it is important to understand that you will have to one day repay the loan, so estimating how much you will have to pay each month is crucial so you don't fall into default or delinquency. 

Basically the amount you will have to start making during the repayment period should not come as a shock to you so use the estimator tool on the website to get an idea.

8) Consolidating loans 

If you have a number of loans you will have to make a number of payments. Keeping track of these payments can be confusing, to tackle this problem consolidate your loans so you will have to make just one payment at the end of each month. 

You can complete your loan consolidation on the website. Click here to get more information regarding the consolidation of student loans.

9) Find forms 

 If you doubt regarding a particular form then you can access the Forms Center at the website where you can find and download applicable forms related to repayment, forbearance, forgiveness, discharge, etc. 

In case you have difficulty deciding or are simply unaware of which document you need you can take up the quick quiz about your situation at the website. For example for someone who can’t meet the monthly payment requirements needs documents to get into deferment or forbearance.

Worried about college tuition? Learn all about student loans

What help can I get from the website? is the right tool when you need to get answers to questions on federal student loans. It helps direct you to the right places for, such as:

Getting in contact with the Financial Aid office for queries regarding:

  • Loan status 

  • Loan cancellation

  • Loan disbursements and amounts 

Getting in contact with the loan servicer for queries regarding:

  • Loan balance amount 

  • Loan repayment status 

  • Deferment status

  • Forbearance 

They also have an FAQ page that covers all aspects of student loans with a rich answer base to all the possible questions in a borrower's mind. You can contact them through the live chat function or by calling them at 1-800-557-7394.

If you are looking to educate yourself about the loans you have already taken or going to take to help finance your education then is a great source, it even helps to manage your loans and finding a repayment plan that works best for you.

Having everything you need in one place makes it easier for the borrower and helps them confidently and comfortably repay their loans.