Important Direct Loan Items:
Education Loan Repayment
Once you graduate, leave school, and/or drop below half-time, you will soon enter the repayment process. Successful repayment can be made by following three easy steps:
Know who you owe and how much you owe.
All federal student loan borrowing history and information is available through the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at www.nslds.ed.gov. This site will outline when and who provided the loan and, more importantly, who services the loan for repayment. Each loan record will list contact information for the lender and/or servicing agent. Make sure that you pay attention to each loan since you may have loans with more than one lender and/or servicing agent.
If you borrowed alternative loans, you should contact the lender prior to entering the repayment process and verify who and where to send payments. If you are unsure who you borrowed from or received notification that the loan was sold to a different lender and/or servicing agent, you can request a copy of your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies. Your credit report will list contact information for the lender and/or servicing agent.
Choose a repayment plan/option that works for you and your budget.
Before you enter the repayment process, you should create a financial budget of your income and expenses. Determining an amount that you can afford each month for your loan repayment will assist you in selecting the right repayment option.
For more information on the repayment plans available to you, please visit the Department of Education's website by going to Repayment Plans.
Once you have researched the available repayment plans, use the Department of Education's repayment comparison calculator to estimate your monthly payment amount.
Keep your lender(s) and/or servicing agent(s) updated when your academic status and/or personal information changes.
If your academic status changes (you go back to school or switch schools), make sure to always update your lender(s) and/or servicing agent(s). You may qualify for deferment on your outstanding loans.
Always update your lender(s) and/or servicing agent(s) when your personal information (name, address, phone number, email address), changes.
Frequently Asked Questions regarding Education Loan Repayment
What is a Grace Period?
A Grace Period is the time between when you graduate, leave school, and/or drop below half-time status until you enter the repayment process.
1. Most Stafford loans have a six month grace period.
2. Perkins loans have either a six or nine month grace period, depending upon when it was first disbursed.
During the grace period, interest will accrue on Direct Subsidized Loans first disbursed between July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2014. For Direct Stafford Subsidized Loans disbursed prior to July 1, 2012, interest will not accrue during the grace period. Interest will always accrue on all Direct Unsubsidized loans regardless of date first disbursed. Please note, all accrued interest is subject to interest capitalization.
Each individual Direct Loan has only one six month grace period. If you return to school after the grace period has been exhausted, you may qualify for an in-school deferment. Upon leaving school again, your former loans will immediately enter repayment and all new loans will enter a grace period.
What if I can no longer afford a payment?
Help and programs are available to assist, including deferment, forbearance, and a possibility of temporary suspension or reduction of payments. Contact your lender(s) and/or servicing agent(s) at the first sign of repayment issues.
When do Parent PLUS loans enter repayment?
Repayment begins sixty (60) days after the last disbursement of the loan. If you are a DL Parent PLUS borrower who is also a student, you can defer repayment while you're enrolled in school at least half-time and (DL Parent PLUS loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008) an additional 6 months after you graduate or drop below half-time enrollment. Or you can defer repayment for DL Parent PLUS (first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008) while the student for whom you obtained the loan is enrolled at least half-time, and for an additional l month after the student graduated or dropped below half-time enrollment. You must separately request each deferment period with the servicer of the loan.
To request an in-school deferment, AFTER the initial disbursement, please contact Direct Loan Borrower Services at 1-800-848-0979.
General repayment is 10 to 25 years, depending upon the repayment plan you choose.
What is a Consolidation and how can it help me?
The Federal Direct Consolidation Loan is a loan that combines all a student's federal borrowing history into a new loan with one monthly loan payment. Consolidation loans are available for most federal loans, including FFELP (Stafford, PLUS and SLS), FISL, Perkins, Health Professional Student Loans, NSL, HEAL, Guaranteed Student Loans and Direct loans.
Consolidation does the following to simplify the repayment process:
- 1. By combining the loans, borrowers have one payment to make each month.
- 2. Manageable monthly payments. If borrower has trouble making standard monthly payment, consolidation can assist in lower current monthly payments.
- 3. Creates a fixed interest rate
- 4. Flexible repayment options.
- 5. Extends repayment up to 30 years.
Can my federal student loan(s) be forgiven?
In certain situations, you can have your federal student loan(s) forgiven, canceled, or discharged. Find out whether you qualify due to your job, disability, the closure of your school, or other circumstances by visiting the Federal Student Aid's website section on
Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge
Please visit the Financial Aid Education Loan Consolidation
web page for more information about student loan consolidation.