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.
Learn about COVID emergency relief for federal student loans that has been extended through January 31, 2022.
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:
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.
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 Student Loan Originator
Your loan originator can answer your questions about repayment. If you don't know who your loan originator is:
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. Talk with your loan servicer
You may be able to solve a dispute by simply contacting your loan servicer and discussing the issue. Get tips on working 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. Use FSA's checklist to gather information you’ll need to discuss the dispute with them.
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.
Learn about COVID emergency relief for federal student loans that has been extended through September 30, 2021.
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
Public Service 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).
Do you have a question?
Ask a real person any government-related question for free. They'll get you the answer or let you know where to find it.
Last Updated: October 4, 2021