Learn how to be an informed and responsible borrower.
0:00 College or career school is an important step in achieving your future goals,
0:05 and there are many financial aid options to consider.
0:08 Did you know that a federal student loan can be a great way to help pay for school?
0:13 After all, a grant, work-study job, or a scholarship
0:17 can be a huge help, but these forms of aid may not cover
0:20 the full cost of attending school.
0:23 So if you decide to take out a federal student loan,
0:25 it’s important to understand what you are getting and be a responsible borrower.
0:30 Getting a loan is a big decision. You might be paying your loans back
0:34 for 10 years or more, so take your time to decide.
0:37 And remember to accept only the loans that you need,
0:41 because you’ll have to repay them once you’re out of school.
0:43 Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding how much to borrow.
0:47 Do some research: Make sure that your school is the right fit for you
0:52 both educationally and financially.
0:55 Location, location, location:
0:57 The amount of money you need to borrow can depend a lot
1:00 on where your school is located.
1:02 In-state schools and community colleges
1:04 may cost less than out-of-state schools.
1:07 And finally, getting an idea of your future income
1:10 is also important when deciding how much to borrow.
1:13 Starting salaries vary greatly depending on your career path,
1:17 so it’s worth thinking about how the amount of your loan will affect your future finances.
1:21 After all, your student loan payments should be only a small percentage
1:25 of your salary after you graduate.
1:27 Once you’ve decided on your school and figured out how much money you should borrow,
1:31 you’ll need to sign a promissory note, which is an agreement to repay your loan.
1:35 Make sure you keep a copy for your records.
1:38 If you do take out loans, you’ll need to keep in touch
1:41 with your loan servicer when repayment begins.
1:44 Your loan servicer will make this easy for you
1:47 you by offering web, email, and phone contact options.
1:50 If you make this investment in your future,
1:52 being an informed, responsible borrower can pay off in a big way.
1:56 If you have questions or need more information,
1:59 please visit StudentAid.gov.
Repay a Student Loan
Whether you're still in school or you've already graduated, it's important to start planning how you'll repay your loan. To ensure your payments are manageable, find out about selecting repayment plans. Or, learn how to contact your loan originator to address any questions you may have.
Plan Your Student Loan Payments Before You Graduate, Leave School, or Enroll Less Than Half-Time
For every federal student loan you received, your school or loan servicer provided you with information about it. This allows you to find out the current balance for each loan. Or, you can review your borrowing history and make note of the amount you originally borrowed.
Get Financially Settled When You Leave School
You may have a period of time before you begin repaying your student loans, known as a "grace period." The "grace period" is designed to help you get financially settled before making payments, and it takes effect:
After leaving school or
When you drop below half-time enrollment
Make Payments After Your Grace Period
After your grace period is over, you will have to start making your payments. Do not miss any payments. Paying your loans on time will help your credit score.
If you can’t pay the full amount due on time or have to miss a student loan payment, your loan may be considered delinquent and you may be charged late fees. Contact your loan servicer immediately for help, and ask them about your options.
Finding Your Loan Information
If you are unsure which agency is servicing your defaulted student loan(s), 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 Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID information to access your account. Or, you may contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC).
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 if you qualify for forbearance (a temporary suspension or reduction in payments).
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