Loan Repayment When you borrow money for your education, you sign a promissory note legally obligating you to repay the loan according to stated terms and conditions. When the time comes for repayment, usually after your education is complete, meeting your student loan obligation promptly helps you earn a good credit rating, which follows you throughout your life.
Estimate your loan payments with the financial aid calculator.
Grace Periods After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment (fewer than 6 credits), there is a period of time before you have to begin repayment called a grace period. This grace period is six months for a Federal Stafford Loan and nine months for Federal Perkins Loans. (If you are a parent, you do not have a grace period — repayment generally must begin within 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed.).
Your Student Loans It is important to gather all information pertaining to your student loans. You should be aware of how much you have borrowed, when your grace period ends, the amount of your payment and when it is due. The U.S. Department of Education’s National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) contains the status of your loans, balance amounts, and the agency that services your student loans, to which you will send payments.
Federal Direct Stafford loan borrowers have online access to Direct Loan account information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at Direct Loans.
Perkins Loans information are serviced by ECSI.
Loan Forgiveness Certain programs will forgive part all or of your loan debts, provided you fullfill certain work-related requirements. For more information on a specific forgiveness program, please click on the links below.
Payment Difficulty If having trouble making payments, contact your loan servicer immediately. They have several options that may help. You may qualify for a deferment or forbearance. Several repayment plans may lower your monthly payment.
If you fail to repay your loans, you will suffer serious consequences:
Remember, you must repay your student loans, even if you:
Deferment This is an approved temporary suspension of loan payments based on certain events or criteria. A deferment enables borrowers, under certain conditions, to postpone loan repayment for specified periods of time. You must apply for a deferment through your loan servicer. If you have a subsidized Stafford Loan or Perkins Loan you will not accrue interest during a deferment. If you have an unsubsidized Stafford Loan, you are responsible for the interest during the deferment. You can make interest payments or choose to have the interest capitalized. You must continue to make payments on the loan until you are notified that the deferment has been approved.
Forbearance This is a temporary postponement or reduction of payments for a period of time because you are experiencing financial difficulty. You can receive forbearance if you are not eligible for a deferment. Unlike deferment, however, interest accrues, and you are responsible for repaying it. A forbearance is granted in increments of one year. You must apply for forbearance with your loan servicer. You must continue to make loan payments until you have been notified that the forbearance has been granted.
Repayment Plans Student loan repayment schedules fall into one of three categories:
Consolidation Loan consolidation is a debt management tool that allows you to pay off multiple student loans with one new consolidation loan. Loan consolidation allows you to extend your repayment period from 10 years up to 30 years depending on the amount of money you have borrowed. It is also an option for a married couple to consolidate their loans.
To be eligible for loan consolidation you must meet the following criteria:
*Existing Consolidation Loans are only eligible if you have at least one other eligible loan.
Advantages of Consolidation Loan consolidation offers a fixed interest rate calculated as a weighted average of your individual loan interest rates rounded up to the next higher 1/8 of a percent. Stafford Loan interest rates are variable and change every July 1. If you consolidate during your grace period you will also be eligible for an interest rate reduction of .6%. Multiple payments will also be condensed into one payment to one servicer. In addition, your monthly payments will be smaller because the repayment term is extended.
Disadvantages of Consolidation One of the major disadvantages to consolidation is a longer repayment term which will increase the amount of interest you pay over the life of the loan. You may also lose some deferments and Stafford Loan benefits. Some deferments that are available with a Stafford Loan do not carry over to a consolidation loan. Be sure to check your eligibility for loan forgiveness programs, as you may lose these options when consolidating. It is best to discuss all of these points with the loan servicer or lender with whom you are consolidating.
Spousal Consolidation Spousal Consolidation is something to consider carefully, as each party is jointly and severally liable to repay the loan. Both parties must qualify for a deferment. In the event of a divorce, the court may order a spouse to be responsible for more of the loan than was originally intended.
Consolidation Repayment Plans