Student loan debt is a growing crisis in the United States. With tuition costs skyrocketing, students are taking on more debt than ever. As of 2022, total student loan debt is a staggering $1.75 trillion! This enormous debt burden is forcing borrowers to find new ways to manage their loans. One innovation that is quickly gaining popularity is student loan apps.
What are Student Loan Apps?
Student loan apps are mobile applications designed to help borrowers manage their student loans. These apps inform users about their loans, repayment options, and tools to make smarter financial decisions. Some of the most popular features of student loan apps include:
Loan apps allow you to see all your student loans in one place. You can view key details like interest rates, monthly payments, and balance owed. Tracking loans in one centralized dashboard makes staying on top of multiple loans easier.
Apps can set up automatic payments or send payment reminders. You can also use an app to make one-time payments on your phone. Apps reduce the hassle of manually paying each loan provider every month.
Student loan interest rates can be pretty high. Apps analyze your loans and suggest ways to optimize repayment to save on interest. This may include recommendations for consolidation, switching repayment plans, or targeting loans with the highest rates.
Apps allow you to create budgets, visualize financial goals, and project your future loan payoff timeline. You can use these tools to gain a better understanding of your overall finances.
Top 5 Student Loan Apps
The app marketplace has exploded with options for managing student loans. Here are 5 of the most popular picks:
Nelnet allows you to view all your student loans in one dashboard, even loans not issued by Nelnet. You can make payments, create payment plans, and access customer support. Nelnet also provides tailored suggestions to save money based on your specific loan data.
2. Laurel Road
Laurel Road is an online lender that offers student loan refinancing and consolidation options. Their app includes free credit monitoring, financial wellness tools, and the ability to model various repayment scenarios. Users can also apply for loan products directly in the app.
SoFi offers student loan refinancing and personal loans, among other lending products. Like Laurel Road, SoFi users can apply for these loans via the app. SoFi also has unique features like career advising and networking events for customers.
LendKey lets you view your loans, understand interest savings, and evaluate consolidation options. A unique feature is its student loan marketplace, where you can compare multiple lenders when refinancing or taking out new loans.
Gradifi is focused on helping borrowers receive student loan contributions (SLC) from their employers. The app lets users enroll in SLC programs, view payments, and maximize their full company benefit.
Critical Benefits of Student Loan Apps
Why are student loan apps proving so beneficial for borrowers? Here are some of the top benefits:
- Consolidate information in one place for simpler tracking
- Make payments and update account details on-the-go
- Receive reminders and notifications to avoid missed payments
- Review tailored suggestions to optimize repayment
- Model different financial scenarios and evaluate options
- Apply for student loan refinancing or other products
- Access educational resources and tools in one place
Because of these benefits, it’s easy to see why student loan apps are becoming so popular. They provide a centralized hub and valuable guidance for navigating repayment.
The first student loan apps emerged less than a decade ago but are now firmly mainstream. Industry experts expect usage to rise as borrowers deal with growing loan balances. By 2025, student loan apps are projected to manage $500 billion in student debt.
Key trends fueling future growth include:
- Apps expanding their product offerings beyond just student loans
- Added focus on financial wellness and planning tools
- More employers subsidizing app usage as an employee benefit
- Integration with other finance apps for holistic money management
- Increased use among parent borrowers managing loans for their children
As student debt persists, borrowers will continually seek tools to simplify their repayment process. Student loan apps provide the convenience and guidance needed to overcome this financial challenge.
5 FAQs About Student Loan Apps
Student loan apps are an excellent resource for managing debt, but you may still have questions. Here are answers to 5 frequently asked questions:
Q: Are student loan apps safe to use?
A: Reputable student loan apps take security very seriously. Your data is encrypted and protected. As with any app, take caution before inputting sensitive information.
Q: Do I have to refinance to use an app?
A: Not necessarily. While apps like Laurel Road and SoFi focus on loan refinancing, many apps help you track and manage existing federal and private loans.
Q: Can I upload all my loan data into one app?
A: Many apps allow you to link multiple student loan accounts. However, you may still need to check other platforms to access loans not managed by the app company.
Q: Is there a fee to use student loan apps?
A: Most student loan apps do not charge a fee. Some may charge minimal fees for certain services like expedited payments. Be sure to check for any hidden costs.
Q: Should I use an app or my loan servicer’s website?
A: Student loan apps provide added convenience, tools, and guidance compared to servicer sites. However, you can use both platforms to ensure you get all the payments.
Student loan apps simplify the repayment process. Compare the top options to find the right app to meet your needs and budget. Taking control of your student loans is essential, and apps make it easier.