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5 Steps to Successful Student Loan Repayment


Congratulations on your recent graduation from the University of Denver! If you borrowed Federal Direct loans, you are entitled to a six-month grace period before your first loan payment is due. If you follow the simple steps outlined below, you'll ensure that you start off on the right track when repaying your loans and avoid the consequences of student loan default.

Step 1: Complete Exit Counseling

Exit counseling will help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower and will provide useful tips and information to help you manage your loans. This federally-mandated counseling is required of all students who are no longer enrolled at least half-time. It can be completed online, in about 30 minutes, through

Please note: If you have borrowed a Perkins loan, you must complete exit counseling with the Bursar's Office. Call 303.871.4944 for more information.

Step 2: Know What You Owe and Who You Owe

The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) provides comprehensive information about your federal loan history, including lender and servicer contact information, loan totals, and loan status. You can access all of this useful information by logging onto Once you have gathered information about your loans and the organizations that service them, you can calculate your total loan debt, which will be helpful when determining how much you can afford to pay each month.

Step 3: Determine What You Can Afford to Pay Each Month

Education lenders and servicers generally recommend that student loan payments not exceed 8 to 10 percent of the borrower's gross income. For example, if your starting salary is $45,000, generally you can afford monthly student loan payments of no more than $300 to $375. Be sure to include in your calculation all of your other monthly expenses, as they will affect the amount you can afford to pay.

Annual IncomeMonthly Payment Range
$20,000 $133 - $167
$25,000 $167 - $208
$30,000 $200 - $250
$35,000 $233 - $292
$40,000 $267 - $333
$45,000 $300 - $375
$50,000 $333 - $417
$75,000 $500 - $625
$100,000 $667 - $833

Step 4: Choose a Repayment Plan

You have several loan repayment options! Most borrowers are automatically enrolled in the standard repayment plan, which means you will have a fixed monthly payment of at least $50 over 10 years or less. However, many other repayment plans are available; simply call the servicer of your loan(s) to discuss your options. You can change your repayment plan on an annual basis if needed.

You should select the plan that provides a monthly payment that you can afford, but also pays back your loans as quickly as possible. Remember, the longer you take to pay off your loan, the more interest you will pay. A complete list of repayment plans, as well as payment calculators for each plan, is available online at

Step 5: Keep in Touch

Don't ignore your servicers! Be sure to read the mail they send you, answer their calls, and respond when necessary. If you move or change your contact information, let your servicer(s) know immediately so they can get in touch with you. Borrowers who fail to notify their lender or servicer of these changes may incur additional charges for missed or late payments and risk severe penalties for student loan default.

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