Lets all say it together: "We are screwed!"
Tuition.io, while an incredibly useful student loan management tool, is also incredibly depressing. The magic site pulls in all of your student loans, public and private, and tells you how much you owe, how much interest you've paid, and how much you will pay by the time you die of exhaustion in 2030.
It breaks down your balances, illustrates your interest accrued over the principal in a red bar graph, estimates your monthly payments, and has a calendar that tells you when payments are due. It even has a cute little slider that tells you how much you'll save if you can somehow manage to dump additional funds into your monthly payments.
The only thing it doesn't do is pay the loans for you.
It will, however, help you with ways to manage the soul-crushing burden. The “Loan Options” tab has information on consolidation options, including quite a few private loan consolidation companies that we were unaware of, repayment options (such as income-based), and loan forgiveness programs. The information includes links to lenders, federal programs, and other relevant resources, as well as the steps to complete the process.
For those confused by dozens of private and public student loan accounts, which have likely been bought and sold between companies over the years, the information and tools available here are a godsend.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, however. The site, which is still in beta, has a few quirks. For one, they need someone to run a spell check (“benefits from you original loan…”). Also, some of the private loans don’t display correctly. Wells Fargo, for instance, is apparently an all-interest balance with no principal and no interest rate. Neat.
This is all minor, however, and can be expected to be fixed once the site has more time to mature. What we’re a bit more concerned about, however, is plugging our social security numbers into some random startup’s site.
For federal loans, the first thing users see are fields for your SSN and federal financial aid PIN number. However, if you keep reading, it provides a link and instructions to download your information off of the federal site and import it manually. This takes a few more minutes, but it really is quite easy and keeps your SSN offline.
However, for some private loans (Sallie Mae), there is no workaround to the SSN requirement. That creates quite the dilemma: risk your SSN for convenience, or have one student loan missing from the party.
If you can get all of your student loans into the site without submitting sensitive information, it’s probably worth the sign-up. It really is a magnificent tool. If you have to hand over an SSN, however, it might not be worth the risk of a data breach.