Student loans are a major part of financing a college education for many students. These loans are also often a student's first experience with borrowing money and debt. The most important consideration to keep in mind when borrowing money (not just for student loans) is to only borrow what you truly need, even if you are offered more. Keeping the amount borrowed to a minimum will reduce your amount of debt and the amount of interest paid over time.
To access information about your student loans, visit the National Students Loan Data System (NSLDS). From this website, you can:
- Estimate your repayment
- Learn who your loan servicer is
- See accrued interest on unsubsidized loans
- Learn about repayment plans, loan forgiveness plans, consolidation, and refinancing options available to borrowers
Before entering repayment after graduation, you must first complete Exit Counseling for your federal student loans. Depending on the type of loans you have, you will complete this task at different places.
- For Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized, Unsubsidized, Graduate PLUS), go to StudentAid.gov and log in with your FSA ID and password
- For Institutional, Perkins, or Nursing Loans, go to Heartland ECSI
Don't be intimidated by this task! Exit Counseling only takes 15-20 minutes to complete. For a more in depth walk through of the topics covered in Exit Counseling, watch the video recording below.
You've finally graduated and gotten your first "real" job. Congratulations! But now it's time to begin making payments on your student loan debt. Are you ready? Your first step should be to visit Federal Student Aid's Repayment Estimator to explore different repayment options that may be available to you and to estimate your payments over time.
- Standard Repayment - One flat payment every month for 10 years. You will pay the lowest total interest over the life of the loan with this repayment plan.
- Graduate Repayment - Payments are lower at first, and typically increase every two years. You will end up paying more interest over the life of the loan with this plan.
- Income Based Repayment - Monthly payments are 10% of your discretionary income. Payment amounts can increase or decrease from year to year. You will end up paying more interest over the life of the loan with this plan.
Are you confused about the differences between forbearance and deferment, delinquency and default?
|Deferment||Allows a student to temporarily stop making payments on federal student loans or to temporarily reduce the amount of student loan payments they are making. Students are generally NOT responsible for paying interest that accrues during deferment.|
|Forbearance||Allows a student to temporarily stop making payments on federal student loans or to temporarily reduce the amount of student loan payments they are making. Students generally ARE responsible for paying interest that accrues during forbearance.|
Occurs when you are at least one day late on a loan payment. As soon as you make a payment, you are back in good standing.
Occurs when you are more than 270 days past due on a loan. Students can rehabilitate their loans, but it takes time.