Create Your Student Loan Repayment Strategy
Six months after leaving school or dropping below half-time enrollment, most students begin repaying their federal student loans.
all of your options to find the best repayment strategy for you.
Organize Your Student Loans
To get started, make sure you know who and how much you owe. You might have to make payments on multiple loan accounts, maybe even to different lenders or servicers.
Visit NSLDS.ed.gov to see details about your federal loans, including who owns your loan and whether your loan is being serviced by someone other than your lender.
If you have private loans, you can usually find your lender or servicer on your credit report.
Once you know who you owe, make sure to keep in touch! Your lender or servicer will be your point of contact throughout the life of your loan, so it's important to let them know if your address, email, or phone number changes.
Understand Your Repayment Options
After you know who and how much you owe, and have a sense of your personal budget, it's time to learn about your repayment options. Your repayment plan determines how much you pay each month, including what you may pay in interest, over the life of your loan.
This means that choosing a repayment plan is usually about paying as much as you can afford each month (to save on interest), but not more than you can afford (to avoid missing payments.
Use Our Repayment Planner
You can make informed decisions about your loans using our interactive Repayment Planner. It helps you understand your current plan and guides you to a repayment option that fits your situation.
To help you succeed in repaying your loans, the Repayment Planner shows you:
- A dashboard of your current plan, including what you have left to repay and how you'll repay it
- A timeline of events from now until repayment ends to help you avoid surprises
- The total amount you have left to repay and your final payment date
- Ways you can take action to achieve your repayment goals—part of that may include changing your repayment plan
- More details for each of your loans, focusing on your payment plan and your monthly payment
- To find out more about all of the options you may encounter in the Repayment Planner, explore Know Your Repayment Options for details about each plan.
Keep in Mind
- Once you've chosen a repayment plan, you're not locked in. If at any time you become unemployed, get a promotion, or your financial circumstances change, you can apply for a different plan that's a better fit for your situation.
- There's no penalty for overpayment! Making payments on the interest that's accruing, even when you're not required to make payments, will save you money in the long run.
Did You Know?
Federal student loans are different from other types of loans. In addition to the various repayment plans, there are options that allow you to postpone your payments. There are also programs available that may forgive a portion of your loan balance, if you meet certain criteria! It's important to remember that there can be significant consequences if you don't make your scheduled payments.
You may need to postpone monthly payments for many reasons, like returning to school, military duty, economic hardship, or unemployment.
Deferments and forbearances may be available for federal student loans, in case you need to take a break from making payments. Remember, interest may continue to accrue, even when you're not required to make payments.
Avoiding Delinquency and Default
If you don't make payments on your student loans, your loan is delinquent. Your loan is considered delinquent from the day after you miss a payment until you make up that missed payment or it enters default. When a loan is delinquent, late fees may be charged to your account, and missed payments are reported to the four nationwide credit bureaus. If you haven't made a payment for more than 270 days, your loan enters default. In default, the full balance of your loan is due immediately, and there may be other financial and legal consequences. Fortunately, there are options for turning things around.
- Negative impact on your credit score and your ability to borrow money in the future
- Withholding of federal tax refunds
- Wage garnishment
- Loss of future federal aid eligibility
Federal student loans offer forgiveness programs, which may forgive all or part of your loan balance if you meet certain criteria. One of these programs, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, is available to qualifying student loan borrowers who work in public service professions.
Qualifying professions include:
Public and school librarians
Depending on what type of federal loans you have, you may be eligible for different forgiveness programs. Learn more about these programs and their eligibility requirements at studentaid.ed.gov.
Are you ready to select a new repayment plan for your Great Lakes-serviced loans? Log in to your account to review the repayment options available for your loans, including options for postponing your payments.