Understanding the repayment process for your federal student loans can go a long way toward building a solid financial foundation.
Remember, federal student loans are real loans, just like car loans or mortgages. You must repay a student loan even if your financial circumstances become difficult. Your student loans cannot be canceled because you didn’t get the education or job you expected, or because you didn’t complete your education. The Federal Student Aid repayment calculator can help you estimate what your repayment options will be once you graduate.
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Avoiding Debt Relief Scams
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You need to make payments to your loan servicer. Each servicer has its own payment process, so check with your servicer if you aren’t sure how or when to make a payment. You are responsible for staying in touch with your servicer and making your payments, even if you do not receive a bill. Find out more about repayment of your federal student loans.
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) uses several loan servicers to handle the billing and other services on loans for the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program and for loans originally made under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program but now owned by ED. Learn about loan servicers and how to determine who your loan servicer is.
Choosing a Repayment Plan
You have a choice of several repayment plans that are designed to meet your needs. The amount you pay and the length of time to repay your loans will vary depending on the repayment plan you choose. Get details about repayment plans and calculate your estimated repayment amount under each of the different plans.
Learn what it means to consolidate your loans, how to apply for loan consolidation, things to consider before consolidating your loans, the types of loans that qualify for consolidation, and what happens after you consolidate your loans.
Deferment and Forbearance
Deferment and forbearance offer a way for you to temporarily postpone or lower your loan payments while you’re back in school, in the military, experiencing financial hardship, or in certain other situations. Find out more about deferment and forbearance.
Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge
In circumstances such as certain kinds of teaching service, total and permanent disability, or the closure of the school where you were studying, your obligation to repay your federal student loan may be removed. Learn about forgiveness, cancellation or discharge of federal student loans due to these and other situations.
NEVER ignore delinquency or default notices from your loan servicer. If you don’t make your monthly loan payments, you will become delinquent on your student loan and risk going into default. Contact your servicer immediately if you are having trouble making payments or won't be able to pay on time. Learn about federal student loan default: Find out what may happen if you default, what steps you can take to keep your loan from going into default and what your options are for getting out of default.
Another helpful resource for struggling borrowers is the Student Loan Default Facts and Repayment Tips for Struggling Borrowers sheet.
If you have a dispute about your loan, you may be able to resolve it by simply contacting your loan servicer and discussing the issue. If you need additional help, find out what you can do to be better prepared before you seek help to resolve a dispute.