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More Options Revisited: Glitchy, But a Necessity for Student Debt

By William Peacock, Esq. on January 07, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Last year, we explored the brilliant, yet work-in-progress student loan management tool, (Tuition I owe - get it?)

We saw it as a useful tool, though we had some reservations about handing over our sensitive data (SSN, specifically). I went ahead and gave it a shot, because, well, if someone steals my identity, they become the proud owner of six-figure debt and $0.38 in a bank account. I'll adopt a pseudonym, become a bartender, and move to Dublin. Win-win, right?

Needless to say, I'm still here, and still blogging, which means their site stayed secure. Plus, for federal loans, they have ways to avoid handing over your sensitive information. They've also fixed a few other bugs and typos. At this point, if you are juggling multiple loans from multiple companies, your first stop should be

The Set Up

As we mentioned before, it seems SSNs are no longer required, with one glaring exception: Sallie Mae. My guess is the fault there lies with Sallie, as she requests your SSN on her site as well.

You can link in your loan accounts using other sites' usernames and passwords, or by manually downloading information from the National Student Loan Database System. The integration with other sites is slow, but mostly functional, and seems to be improving. For example, it used to refuse to connect to one account entirely, which in a way, was nice (it let me ignore that $20,000), but at present, the only issue is in pulling the interest rates and monthly payments from my other providers. (You can enter the data manually.)

If you use the linked accounts, expect about 80 percent accuracy on the details, and about 20 minutes of tweaking interest rates.

The Pay Off

The site itself is a handy way of realizing just how financially crippled you actually are. There's something motivating about seeing a graph that projects how long it'll take you to pay off your debt at your current rate. (Thanks to IBR, deferments, and my crippling load of debt, I'm pegged at 2075 or so. I'll surely be dead by then.)

Sliders make it easy to adjust your monthly payments to see how much a few hundred extra dollars each month could help. (I'll merely be senile.)

The truth is, for the next few years, you won't be paying $2,000 per month in payments, unless you hit the BigLaw lottery. Still, a few hundred more than your present payment amounts could shave off a few years' worth, or a few thousand dollars' worth, of payments. The sliders help you visualize the payoff.

The site's other tools, such as the blog and glossary, provide regular tips on consolidation, student loan forgiveness, and more.

The Verdict

Last year, we appreciated the product, but had reservations about entering in sensitive data to a new website. This year? If you're security paranoid, you can enter your data manually. It's worth it for the plethora of planning tools available.

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