It is important that you manage your student loan debt and make your loan payments on time. Otherwise, you may end up in default and this could create serious consequences later.
Obtain Your Loan Information
The U.S. Department of Education’s National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) can provide helpful information regarding who your loan servicer is, information on your federal loans, including loan types, disbursed amounts, outstanding principal and interest, and total amount of your loans.
You will need your FAFSA pin to access NSLDS at www.nslds.ed.gov or, you may call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800-4-FED-AID or 800-433-3243 to get information on your loan servicer.
Loan consolidation allows you to manage your student loans by combining them into a single loan with a fixed interest rate, and to make a single monthly payment. To learn more about loan consolidation, visit the Department of Education’s Loan Consolidation.
Repayment Plan Options
When the time comes to repay your federal student loans, there are a number of repayment options that you can select from to help you manage your debt and that work best for your financial situation. The plans outlined below apply to Direct Loan borrowers.
Standard Repayment Plan
Under the Standard Repayment Plan, you make fixed monthly payments, of at least $50, and you have up to 10 years to repay your loans.
Your monthly payment may be higher under this plan because you have a 10-year limit on repaying the loans. However, this may result in repayment of the least amount of interest because the loan will be repaid in the shortest amount of time.
Extended Repayment Plan
With the Extended Repayment Plan, you will pay a fixed monthly amount over a period of time, not to exceed 25 years.
Under the extended plan, your fixed monthly payment is lower than it would be under the standard plan, but over time, you will pay more for your loans because interest accumulates during the longer repayment time.
Graduated Repayment Plan
Under the Graduated Repayment Plan, your payments start out low and will increase every two years.
Your monthly payment under this plan will never be less than the amount of interest that accrues during payments. You will have up to 10 years to repay your loans under this plan.
This plan may be right for you if you expect your income to increase in the future.
Income Based Repayment Plan
Under the Income Based Repayment Plan, your monthly payment will be capped at an amount that is affordable based on your income and family size. Your loan servicer will perform the calculation in order to determine your eligibility under this plan.
Under the IBR plan, your payment may be adjusted each year based on changes in your income and family size.
The maximum repayment period under this plan is 25 years. If your loan has not been fully paid after 25 years under this plan, the unpaid portion will be discharged. However, you may have to pay income taxes on the amount that is discharged.
Additionally, if you work in public service and make payments under the IBR plan, the remaining balance may be cancelled after 10 years in a public service job.
Click here to download an IBR Fact Sheet.
Click here for additional information on the IBR Plan.
Public Loan Forgiveness
In an effort to encourage borrowers to enter and continue working full-time in public service jobs, Congress created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program in 2007.
Under this program, Direct Loan borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance of their eligible federal student loans, provided they have made 120 payments on those loans while employed full time in public service jobs.
Learn more about the Public Service Loan Program.
Download the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Fact Sheet.
Calculate Your Payment
To estimate your monthly payment under the Standard, Extended, or Graduated Repayment Plan, use the calculator below. You must enter the total amount of your federal student loans.
Be an informed consumer, know the options available to you, and monitor your student loan debt regularly.