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As you prepare for life after school? We want to provide you with next steps, tips, and advice regarding your student loans.

First, review your records and student account. You’ll need to figure out whether you have federal student loans, private student loans, or both. The advice below is for your federal student loans. To discuss repayment options for your private student loans, contact your lender.

If you’re not going to continue your education:

In most cases, you’ll have six months from the time you graduate or leave school before you have to begin making federal student loan payments. This is called your grace period. Use this time period to explore the different repayment options available to you and prepare for repayment.

Here’s your repayment checklist:

Compare your monthly payment options using this repayment calculator.

Decide whether you want to consolidate. Consolidation can simplify the repayment process if you have more than one loan or servicer. In some cases, it can also help you qualify for better repayment options. Just be sure to weigh the pros and cons.

Choose or apply for an affordable repayment plan. If you take no action, you’ll be placed on the 10-year standard repayment plan. If you need a lower payment, apply for an income-driven repayment plan, such as Pay As You Earn, where your payments can be as low as $0 per month.

Set up your payments. You will not pay the U.S. Department of Education directly. In most cases, you will make payments to your federal loan servicer.

TIP: Ask your servicer how to sign up for automatic payments. You could receive a 0.25% interest rate deduction for enrolling!

Know who to contact if you need help with your student loans. You never have to pay for student loan help! Your federal loan servicer will never charge fees and can help you for free.

TIP: Save your servicer’s phone number in your phone.

If you are continuing your education:

Contact your loan servicer to request an in-school deferment. If you have unsubsidized loans, it’s even more important to consider making student loan payments while you’re in school to prevent interest from accruing (accumulating).

Beware of student loan scams:

You never have to pay for help with your student loans. As you’re researching repayment and forgiveness options, make sure you’re getting information from trusted sources, like .gov websites or your servicer’s website. The government and your servicer will never charge application or maintenance fees, so if you’re asked to pay, walk away. Contact your servicer for free assistance.

Julie Waldvogel-Leitner
Written by Julie Waldvogel-Leitner
Director of Admissions