Student Loans

Get answers to the most common questions about student loans.

Getting a Student Loan

When you are exploring ways to pay for college, you might consider money you'd borrow in the form of federal or private loans. This chart summarizes the differences. 

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Repaying a Student Loan

After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you have a period of time before you begin repayment of your student loans, known as a "grace period." You may find information on your loan's grace period in the terms and conditions portion of your signed promissory note.

Resources that are available to help you regarding repaying student loans:

  • This guide will give you tips on finding the right repayment plan for you, learning how to make payments, getting help if you can’t afford your payments, and learning how a loan debt may be forgiven, canceled, or discharged.
  • This list of resources offers links to a wide variety of specific topics you may be looking for.

Contact the Department of Education's (ED) Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or 1-319-337-5665 with questions.

Contact your Loan Originator

Contact the loan originator when you have questions about repayment information. If you don't know who your loan originator is:

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Resolve Student Loan Disputes

If you and your loan servicer disagree about the balance or status of your loan, following these steps can help you to resolve your loan dispute on your own. Use the Self-Resolution Checklist to ensure that you have done everything you can.

If you’ve completed the steps to resolve your loan dispute and you still are not satisfied, contact the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Ombudsman Group. The FSA Ombudsman works with student loan borrowers to informally resolve loan disputes and problems. You can request help online or call 1-877-557-2575. Before contacting the FSA Ombudsman Group, make sure to have this information available.

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Unable to Pay Student Loans

Finding Loan Information

If you are unsure which agency is servicing your defaulted student loan(s), call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC)

You may retrieve your loan information from the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). This system contains financial aid information collected from schools, agencies, and other educational institutions. You will need your account information to access your account. 

Resolving Defaulted Loans

The Default Resolution Group helps student loan borrowers in default arrange debt payments. Contact the Default Resolution Group at 1-800-621-3115.

Find more information on defaulted student loans:

Disputing a Loan

If you have been unable to resolve a dispute with your student loan lender, the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman may help you figure out how to resolve a student loan dispute.

Canceling/Discharging a Loan

Under certain circumstances, a school or financial institution will agree to cancel or discharge a loan. Continue making payments on your loan until you hear whether your discharge went through, or you qualify for forbearance, or a delay in payment, while your discharge processes. 

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