Graduation & Loan Repayment
Planning for the repayment of your student loans takes some thought and an evaluation of your situation and options. A solid understanding of repayment plans, the hazards of default and how to resolve federal student loan disputes is critical to your future financial health.
Important note: The information on this page pertains only to federal student loans. If you borrowed a private education loan from a bank or credit union, you'll need to contact your lender to learn about repayment options and timelines.
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Preparing For Repayment
When you're no longer enrolled at DU, your first task will be to complete exit counseling. Exit counseling helps you understand your rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower and will provide useful tips and information to help you manage your loans. You'll receive a communication from our office when it's time to complete this requirement.
After you graduate, leave school or drop below half-time enrollment, you are entitled to one six-month grace period for Direct loans. During this time, you are not required to make payments.
Interest continues to accrue on most loans during the grace period. While you don't have to pay the interest as it accrues, any unpaid interest is capitalized and added to the loan principal when repayment begins.
Repayment begins the day after your grace period ends; your first payment is due within 60 days. You'll receive communication from your servicer about repaying your loans, so pay attention to any mail or email you may receive from them.
Determining Your Servicer
The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) provides comprehensive information about your federal loan history, including your servicer contact information, loan totals and loan status. Students may access NSLDS by logging onto https://nslds.ed.gov. You'll need your FSA ID to login.
It's important to know who is servicing your loans, as you will be working with them directly throughout repayment. A list of current federal student loan servicers is available through StudentAid.gov.
Remember, NSLDS will only show your federal loan history. If you borrowed a private education loan, those will appear on your credit report, and you should contact your private lender directly regarding your repayment options.
You have several repayment options available to you with federal student loans. Your servicer will automatically set up your loan on the standard repayment plan. If you need a lower payment, apply for an income-driven repayment plan, where your payments can be as low as $0 per month.
Here's a quick overview of available repayment plans:
|Repayment Plan||Payment and Time Frame||Other Information|
|Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)||
|Pay As You Earn (PAYE)||
|Income-Based Repayment (IBR)||
|Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)||
Much more information about each plan is available through Federal Student Aid.
Loan consolidation combines multiple federal student loans, with various repayment schedules, into one loan with one monthly payment. All federal student loans are eligible for consolidation, which can simplify the repayment process if you have more than one loan servicer. In some cases, it can also help you qualify for better repayment options. Just be sure to weigh the pros and cons.
Loan Forgiveness & Cancellations
Loan forgiveness programs promote careers in fields that are under-serviced or fields that meet particular community needs. Depending on your situation, all or a portion of your loans may be cancelled or forgiven through these programs.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program, you can qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on your federal student loans after you make 120 payments while employed full-time by certain public service employers. The 120 required payments need to be made under the Direct Loan Program (meaning you may need to consolidate your loans into the DL Program upon graduation if a portion of your current loans are borrowed through the bank-based Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) or Perkins loan programs). All income-driven repayment plans are eligible for PSLF. Learn more and see whether you might qualify at StudentAid.gov.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness
The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue in the teaching profession. Under this program, individuals who teach full time for five consecutive, complete academic years in certain elementary and secondary schools that serve low-income families and meet other qualifications may be eligible for forgiveness of up to a combined total of $17,500 in principal and interest on their FFEL and/or Direct loans. Additional information is available at StudentAid.gov.
Perkins Loan Cancellation
In certain cases, all or a portion of your Perkins loan can be cancelled. Perkins loans can be cancelled for service as a full-time teacher in certain areas, a full-time librarian, law enforcement, public defender, firefighter, full-time nurse or medical technician, full-time family service provider, for certain military service and for Peace Corps or ACTION volunteers. More information on Perkins loan cancellation can be obtained through the Bursar's Office website. For reference, a Perkins Cancellation form is located under the "Forms" link on the Bursar's Office website.
Inability to Make Payments
If you think you will have trouble making your loan payments, be sure to contact your lender or servicer immediately. They can help you change your payment plan to one that better fits your budget, or discuss deferment or forbearance options that will allow you to postpone your payments. Ask for help before you fall behind!
Deferments allow you to temporarily postpone the payment of your loan. Deferments are not automatic; you must apply and be approved by your lender. The most common reasons for deferment include:
- returning to school at least half time
- loss of job or inability to find a job
- economic hardship
- on active duty during war, national emergency or military operation
If you do not qualify for a deferment, you may be eligible to request forbearance from your lender. Forbearance is the temporary postponement or reduction in your monthly payment. Often the amount of time it takes to repay your loan is extended. Interest continues to accrue during the period, so if you do not make interest payments it will increase your total loan balance. There are several different types of forbearance available depending on your situation, and it must be approved by your servicer. However, you may be eligible to move to an income-driven repayment plan instead of going into forbearance, so be sure to speak to your servicer!
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