Students begin repaying their federal student loans six months after they graduate or fall below half-time status.
Don’t panic if you have trouble making your loan payments. But please don’t ignore the problem and hope it will go away. The problem will not go way until you do something about it.
Thankfully there are options. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are – illness, unemployment, underemployment or some other bad luck – there is an appropriate repayment option for everyone.
Take the following steps to manage your student loan payments and avoid default:
The Department of Education provides comprehensive information about loan repayment options that is clearly written and understandable. Carefully review all Repayment Plans, especially the Income Driven Repayment Plans and the Deferment & Forbearance options.
Choose the option that best suits your circumstances at that time. When your circumstances change, you can switch to a different payment plan. There’s no fee for making the switch. All you have to do is contact your loan servicer to make the change.
- The Department of Education may reassign your loan servicer at any time so make sure to log in to the Federal Student Aid site occasionally to review all your loan information. It is especially important to update your mailing address and your email address whenever it changes.
- You can prepay your federal student loans without penalty at any time.
- If you are able to prepay any portion of your subsidized student loans at graduation you will have paid no interest on that debt since the government pays your interest while you are enrolled at least half-time.
- Read the 10 Tips for Recent Graduates published by the Project on Student Debt .