The Path to Federal Student Loan Repayment
As you leave school, understanding how your student loans will impact your finances can help you successfully manage your loans. Great Lakes is a federal student loan servicer. If we're your servicer, we'll be your advisor as you repay your loans.
This timeline teaches you about what happens during your grace period and the steps to take along the path to repayment.
Depending on the type of loan you have, interest can build up (accrue) while you prepare for repayment. If you're wondering how this will affect your loan, learn about interest and capitalization.
Scroll to see the whole timeline or jump to a specific period in the timeline:
Start the repayment path
Grace Period Begins — No Longer In School
The idea of making loan payments might be a little overwhelming, but you have time to get ready. Federal student loans come with a six-month grace period—a window of time after you leave school when you aren't required to make payments.
Now is a good time to start thinking ahead a few months to prepare for that first payment.
- Still in school or returning soon? If so, please update your enrollment status to let us know.
- Make sure we have your active email address, especially if you're done using your school email address. Sign up for account access and update your contact information.
- Save money by paying interest.
Estimate your payment
Your grace period is about half over. It's a good time to estimate your monthly payment amount and review all of your repayment options.
- Making on-time payments builds good credit, which can be a factor when applying for a job, securing housing, or buying a car.
- Review your repayment options to find the option that works best for your situation.
- If you don't think you'll be able to afford your payments, you have options. Income-driven repayment plans can bring your payments to as low as $0.
Select a repayment option
It's time to decide how you want to pay back your student loans. You determine whether you begin making full payments or pursue an income-driven plan that could possibly lower your payments to $0.
- Review your repayment options.
- Unless you select an option, we'll set you up with the level repayment plan—monthly payments that stay the same over a maximum of 10 years.
- If you're unable to start repaying your loan, take action now. Explore repayment plans based on your income.
Review your payment schedule
Grace Period Ends
Your six month grace period has ended and you're about a month away from your first payment due date. Soon you'll get a payment schedule that details your repayment terms. If your grace period flew by and you didn't select a different repayment option, we set you up with the level repayment plan (monthly payments that stay the same over a maximum of 10 years).
This is a good time to make sure we have your current contact information and to sign up for automatic monthly payments.
- Make sure we have your active email address, especially if you're done using your school email address.
- Make sure your payments are always on time by signing up for Auto Pay and having your monthly payments automatically withdrawn from your checking or savings account. Your lender might also offer an incentive for making automatic payments.
You'll be making your first scheduled payment in a couple weeks. Watch for an email or paper billing statement each month. The statement includes your payment amount and due date.
- Make sure we have your active email address.
- Visit the Knowledge Center to explore additional helpful materials.
First Payment Due
Your first scheduled student loan payment is due, but the path doesn't end here. Successfully repaying your student loans helps you build a solid financial future and Great Lakes will be here to help you every step of the way.
- Make sure your repayment plan is right for you—review your repayment plan options.
- Contact us with questions or concerns, any time.
Get in Touch
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You can also log in or visit our Contact Us page to contact a representative.