Student Loans – Entering Repayment

What types of loans do you have?

As you start to repay your loans, you will want to determine if you have Federal Loans, Private Loans or a mixture of both types because the repayment options will be different for Federal and Private Loans.  Most graduates have only federal loans or a mixture of both. 

  • To determine what loan types you have, you can ask your servicer
  • To obtain a list of your federal loans, you can log into 
  • You can pull your credit report to see all loans listed

When will you have to start making payments?

Grace Periods

  • Most Federal Loans enter repayment 6 months after graduation, or after you leave school or drop below half-time enrollment
  • PLUS loans have no grace period and repayment generally begins within 60 days after the final loan disbursement for the period of enrollment for which the loan was borrowed (PLUS loans are for parents or graduate students) 
  • Private loans may or may not have a grace period, check with your servicer for more information 

Repayment Plans

Federal Loan Repayment Plans

Standard Repayment– lasts 10 years and is the best plan to pay your loans the most quickly and pay the least amount of interest. 

Note- These payments can be high for some as it’s based on the amount you borrowed.

Graduated Repayment- lowers your monthly payments initially, then increases the amount you pay every two years for a total of 10 years (25 years if you choose Extended Graduated Repayment)

Note- You must plan for payment increases every two years which can be difficult if you’re unsure if you will continually earn more as time goes on. Not available to Parent Plus Loans.

Extended Repayment- lowers your monthly payments by stretching your repayment period to as long as 25 years.

Note- you must owe at least $30,000 in federal student loans to qualify. By extending your loan term, you will pay more interest in the long run.

Income-Driven Repayment- Income driven payment options tie the amount of your monthly payment to a portion of your income. Income driven plans offer eventual forgiveness if you still owe after 20-25 years. 

The four available income driven plans are:

  • Pay As You Earn
  • Revised Pay As You Earn
  • Income Based Repayment
  • Income Contingent Repayment 

Note- you must re-certify your income and family size every year and your payments will change accordingly. You may pay more over time as this typically extends your loan term. The only current IDR available to Parent Plus Loans is Income Contingent Repayment.

Visit to learn more details of each Federal Loan Repayment option. 

Private Loan Repayment Plans

Private student loan lenders can vary between lenders. Some lenders will offer extension on loan length, partial interest/interest only repayment plans, and/or short periods of deferment or forbearance. 

You can refinance private student loans through another lender. This may be able to provide you different loan terms and lower interest rates.

Contact your servicer for more information regarding alternative repayment plans.

Can’t afford any payments at all to your student loans?

Postpone payments by asking for a deferment or forbearance

Postponing your monthly payments may prevent your loan from going in to default.

What are deferments and forbearances?

Deferment is a period of time that your lender temporarily suspends your regular payments.

Forbearance is a period of time that your lender temporarily reduces or suspends your regular payments.

When would I be eligible?


  • Unemployment 
  • Economic hardship 
  • Military deployment
  • Enrollment in school


  • Unemployment 
  • Economic hardship 
  • Military deployment
  • Temporary hardship

What loans are eligible?


  • All Federal Student Loans


  • All Federal Student Loans
  • Some private loans, depending on the loan type and servicer

Who pays the accruing interest?


  • Subsidized federal loans—The government pays the interest
  • All other loan types—You are responsible for paying the interest


  • All loans—You are responsible for paying the interest 

Federal Loan Consolidation

If you’d like to simplify your financial situation, you may want to look in to consolidating your Federal Loans. Consolidating your loans will pay off your existing loans with one new federal student loan. There is no cost to consolidate and you can apply through 


  • Lower monthly payments 
  • One bill, one lender 
  • Fixed interest rate 
  • No minimum balance required
  • Can convert old loan types into the current Direct Loan program to become eligible for forgiveness/payment options 


  • Longer repayment period 
  • More interest is paid 
  • Possible loss of current loan incentives

Are you behind on payments?

Contact your lender to prevent loan default

If you are behind on your student loans, contact your lender immediately to review your options and help protect your credit rating.

  • Default occurs after 270 days of nonpayment on federal student loans or typically 120 days of nonpayment on alternative (private) loans.
  • Once a Federal Student Loan defaults, you can get your loans out of default by one of the following:
  • Pay your loan in full
  • Consolidate your loans and agree to pay under an income driven payment plan or make three consecutive on-time full monthly payments on the defaulted loan before you consolidate it
  • Rehabilitate your loans- agree in writing to make nine voluntary, reasonable and affordable monthly payments during a period of 10 consecutive months.

Federal Loan Forgiveness, Cancellation and Discharge

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

If you’re employed by a government or not-for-profit organization, you may be able to receive loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

PSLF forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you’ve made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer.

Learn more at 

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

If you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in a low-income elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency, you may be eligible for forgiveness of up to $17,500 on your Direct Loan or FFEL Program loans.

Learn more at 

Closed School Discharge

If your school closes while you’re enrolled or soon after you withdraw, you may be eligible for discharge of your federal student loan.

Learn more at

Total and Permanent Disability Discharge

If you’re totally and permanently disabled, you may qualify for a discharge of your federal student loans and or TEACH Grant service obligation.

Learn more at 

Borrower Defense to Repayment

You may be eligible for discharge of your federal student loans based on borrower defense to repayment if you took out the loans to attend a school and the school did something or failed to do something related to your loan or to the educational services that the loan was intended to pay for. The specific requirements to qualify for a borrower defense to repayment discharge vary depending on when you received your loan. 

Learn more at 

Discharge Due to Death

Federal student loans will be discharged due to the death of the borrower or of the student on whose behalf a PLUS loan was taken out.

Learn more at