Take advantage of the time your son or daughter is in college to prepare for the day your child takes over his or her own financial management responsibilities, including any student loan debt. Even if you are not the one paying the bills, you can still pass on important financial information.
If your son or daughter is not already doing it, keep copies of all loan documents from every year he or she is in college. Some of the things to keep on file include:
- Your child's FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
- Any promissory notes, including any master promissory notes, or MPNs (A promissory note applies to only one loan, whereas an MPN may apply to multiple federal loans borrowed over 10 years.)
- Loan repayment schedules
- Records showing if any loan payments were made, including cancelled checks or other receipts.
If you call a lender/loan servicer, make a note of the date and the person with whom you spoke.
Also keep on hand the names and most recent addresses of the lender, the loan servicer, and if there is one, the guarantor.
Know the lenders/loan servicers for all loans.
The lender/loan servicer is the primary point of contact for all payments for parent PLUS and other student loans.
If you are handling your child's loan paperwork while he or she is in school, the lender/loan servicer needs your contact information, as well as your child's. Keep in mind that the loan paperwork will likely be sent to your house anyway, if your child uses it as his or her permanent address.
Notify the lender and/or loan servicer in writing if any of the following events occur at any time before or during the repayment of a loan:
- A change in permanent address, telephone number, or email address
- A name change (for example, maiden name to married name)
- A change in enrollment status, for example, if your son or daughter graduates, withdraws from school, or falls below half-time status (Half-time is usually a minimum of 6 credit hours, but every program may be different.)
- A transfer to a different school
- A change in employer or employer's address and telephone number
- Any other change in status that could affect the loan
Don't know who services your child's federal loans? Have your child sign in to NSLDS.ed.gov to find out. Keeping track of all loan servicers (PDF) will make it easier to contact them when you don't have the internet at your fingertips.
- Your lender and loan servicer may be the same.
- Your child may need to sign a third-party authorization on your behalf. This may allow you to speak with customer service representatives about any federal loans in your child's name. This authorization is not necessary for a parent PLUS loan in which you are the borrower.