Graduating from college is an exciting time, but it is also a time when you need to start thinking about when, where and how you will pay back your student loans. Many students, whether they are just graduating or taking some time off from school, struggle to understand what they need to do and where they need to go to pay for their student loans.
Luckily, many student loans have a grace period, which is a set period of time after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment before you must begin repaying your student loans. This grace period gives you time to get financially settled and to select your repayment plan. For those of you who have graduated within the last six months, chances are that time is almost up.
Here are 5 things you will need to understand to get on the right track with repaying your student loans:
You may have federal loans, private loans, state loans, loans from your school, or a combination. Different loan types can have different terms and conditions, so be sure you know what types of loans you’ve got. For more info on the types of student loans, check out our student loan info page.
To see all of your federal student loan information in one place, you can visit the National Student Loan Data System for Students (NSLDS) - a free Federal Student Aid service. Once you log in, you can access a list of your federal student loans, including the loan type and information for your loan servicer. A loan servicer is the company that will handle the billing and payments on your federal student loans.
To view your Student Choice information, statements, or make a payment, please log in here.
Once you’ve tracked down all of your loans, you’ll want to find out your total loan balance. This will help you make a plan for repayment. Remember, your federal student loans can be found by using the NSLDS listed above.
Private student loan information is available from each of your loan servicers, and you may have more than one - a loan servicer is the company that will handle the billing and payments on your student loans. To view your Student Choice information, statements, or make a payment, please log in here.
A student loan is just like any other loan - it’s borrowed money that will have to be repaid with interest. As interest accrues, it may be added to the total balance of your loan if left unpaid. As a recent graduate, you may want to consider making student loan interest payments during your grace period to save money on the total cost of your loan.
Depending on the types of loans you have, you may have different repayment options. Federal student loans offer benefits such as different repayment options, paying your loans based on your income, or extending your payments over a longer period of time. You can even combine your federal student loans via the Federal Student Loan consolidation program.
Your private student loans may offer additional benefits. For Student Choice information, please check out our Frequently Asked Questions.
Repayment Terms and Benefits
Familiarize yourself with the repayment terms of all your loans. Keep an eye out on ways to save on interest (like enrolling in automatic payments), options to pay more than your required monthly payment, loan forgiveness, cancellation and discharge options. For Student Choice information, please visit our the repayment section of our Frequently Asked Questions.