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Student Loan Repayment

Student Loan Repayment

Repaying your Student Loans

Once you are no longer enrolled at least half time (6 credit hours) in an eligible program, you will receive a 6-month grace period on your Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans during which time you are not required to make loan payments. You must begin repayment at the end of your grace period.

You are responsible for repaying any and all student loans that you borrow, regardless of whether or not you obtain a degree.

If you re-enroll in school at least half time before the end of your 6-month grace period, you will receive the full 6-month grace period when you stop attending or drop below half-time enrollment.

You will have the choice of several plans, and the loan servicer will notify you of the date your first payment is due. If you do not choose a repayment plan, you will be placed on the standard repayment plan. Most Direct Loan borrowers choose to stay with the standard repayment plan, but there are other options for borrowers who may need more time to repay or who need to make lower payments at the beginning of the repayment period.

If you have multiple federal education loans, you can consolidate them into a single Direct Consolidation Loan. This may simplify repayment if you are currently making separate loan payments to different loan holders, because you only have one monthly payment to make. There may be tradeoffs however, so you'll want to learn about the advantages and possible disadvantages before you consolidate.

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) NSLDS Student Access will show you how much you owe in student loans and will give you information about your servicer(s) so you can successfully pay back your student loans.

Repayment Plans

Student Loan Repayment Calculators

Direct Consolidation Loan Calculator

Budget Calculator

Income Driven Repayment

Repayment Assistance

If you're having trouble making payments on your loans, contact your loan servicer as soon as possible. Their staff will work with you to determine the best option for you. Options include:

If you stop making payments and don't get a deferment or forbearance, your loan could go into default, which has serious consequences.

Consequences of Default

For more information and to learn what actions to take if you default on your loans, see the Department's Debt Resolution website.

Loan Cancelation (forgiveness or discharge)

Teacher Service: If you are a new borrower* and are a full-time teacher in a low-income elementary or secondary school for five (5) consecutive years, you may be able to have as much $17,500 of your subsidized or unsubsidized loans canceled. This provision is not available to borrowers of PLUS loans.
*You are considered a new borrower if you did not have an outstanding balance on an FFEL or Direct Loan on Oct. 1, 1998, or on the date you obtained an FFEL or Direct Loan after Oct. 1, 1998.

Public Service: If you are employed in certain public service jobs and have made 120 payments on your Direct Loans (after Oct. 1, 2007), the remaining balance that you owe may be forgiven. Only payments made under certain repayment plans may be counted toward the required 120 payments. You must not be in default on the loans that are forgiven.

School-related discharges: In certain cases, you may be able to have all or part of your loan canceled because:

In general, you must repay your loan even if you don't graduate, can't find work in your field of study, or are dissatisfied with the education program.

Disability, bankruptcy, or death

Contact your loan servicer for more information or to get a cancelation form. You can also find more information in your copy of the Borrower's Rights and Responsibilities Statement.

Loan Disputes and the FSA Ombudsman Group

Sometimes a borrower and a loan servicer will disagree about the balance or status of a student loan. If this happens, you should first identify your loan problem, and then contact your loan servicer. For information on identifying your loan problem and contacting your loan servicer, visit the FSA Resolving Disputes website. If you've completed the necessary steps to resolve your loan dispute and are still not satisfied, you may need to contact the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Ombudsman Group. Contacting the FSA Ombudsman Group should be done as a least resort, when you have already made every effort to resolve your student loan problems. Learn more about preparing to seek help from the FSA Ombudsman Group.

To contact the FSA Ombudsman Group:
Via telephone: 877-557-2575
Via fax: 606-396-4821
Via mail: FSA Ombudsman Group
 P.O. Box 1843
Monticello, KY 42633

Additional Resources from the FSA Ombudsman Group
Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Information Checklist
Self-Resolution Checklist

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