Manage and Repay Student Loans

Get answers to the most common questions about student loans.

Video: Responsible Borrowing

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Repay a Student Loan

Before You Graduate, Leave School, or Enroll Less Than Half-Time

For every federal student loan you received, your school or loan servicer provided information about it. Review your borrowing history, and make note of the amount you originally borrowed and the current balance for each federal student loan.

When You Leave School

After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you may have a period of time before you begin repaying your student loans, known as a "grace period."

Select a Repayment Plan for Your Federal Student Loans

Within the grace period you may receive information about repayment from your lender. You’ll have a choice of several repayment plans. Find the right one for you.

Most federal student loans are eligible for at least one income-driven or income-based repayment plan (IBR). These repayment plans are based on a percentage of your discretionary income. They’re designed to make your student loan debt more manageable by reducing your monthly payment amount.

Contact Your Loan Originator

Your loan originator can answer your questions about about repayment. If you don't know who your loan originator is:

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.

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Video: Repayment of Your Student Loans—What to Expect

Learn about the repayment of your student loans, and the options you have.

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Video: How to Manage your Student Loans

Learn about options such as switching repayment plans, deferment and forbearance, or consolidating your loans.

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Resolve Student Loan Disputes

If you and your loan servicer disagree about the balance or status of your loan, follow these steps to resolve your disputes:

1. Solve the Issue with Your Loan Servicer

You may be able to solve a dispute by simply contacting your loan servicer and discussing the issue. This guide can help you work through an issue with your loan servicer to resolve the dispute.

2. Request Help from the FSA Ombudsman Group

If you have followed the guide and still cannot resolve your issue, as a last resort, contact the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Ombudsman Group. The FSA Ombudsman works with student loan borrowers to informally resolve loan disputes and problems.

Before contacting the FSA Ombudsman Group, use this checklist to gather the information you’ll need to discuss the dispute with them.

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Unable to Repay Student Loans

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).

Resolving Defaulted Loans

The myeddebt.ed.gov website helps student loan borrowers, who are in default, to arrange debt payments. There are multiple ways to contact the Default Resolution Group , or you may call 1-800-621-3115.

For more information on defaulted student loans, see Understanding Delinquency and Default.

Eligibility for Loan Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge

Loan Forgiveness

You may qualify to have some or all your federal student loan amount forgiven if you enter and continue to work full-time in a nonprofit or public service job. Learn more about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

Loan Cancellation, or Discharge

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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Last Updated: December 6, 2017