Student loan debt is a legal obligation. By taking out student loans, you have made a commitment to repay them. This could take 10 to 30 years.
If you don't make your payments on time or if you miss a payment, your loan is considered delinquent and late fees can be assessed. If you don't make payments for more than 270 days, your loan will go into default status and your credit will suffer. Once defaulted, you may be denied future education or consumer loans. You may not be able to obtain a mortgage or rent an apartment if you are in default.
Please use the resources listed here to help manage your student loan debt and contact us if you have questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much have I borrowed (federal student loans only)? Back to Top
Go to nslds.ed.gov and log in using your FAFSA pin #. Then choose “Financial Aid Review” to access your loan history.
When do I need to start paying my loans back? Back to Top
Federal student loans do not require payments while you are enrolled in school at least half-time (6 credits or more per semester). Once you graduate or go below half-time, you enter a grace period. When the grace period is over, repayment begins. The following loans have grace periods as follows:
Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans: 6 months
Perkins Loans: 9 months
PLUS loans: The repayment period for all PLUS loans begins on the date the loan is fully disbursed, and the first payment is due within 60 days of the final disbursement. However, a graduate student PLUS loan borrower (as well as a parent PLUS borrower who is also a student) can defer repayment while the borrower is enrolled at least half time, and, for PLUS loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008, for an additional six months after the borrower is no longer enrolled at least half-time. Interest that accrues during these periods will be capitalized if not paid by the borrower.
Parent PLUS loan borrowers whose loans were first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008, may choose to have repayment deferred while the student for whom the parent borrowed is enrolled at least half-time and for an additional six months after that student is no longer enrolled at least half-time. Interest that accrues during these periods will be capitalized if not paid by the borrower.
What is the maximum amount I can borrow? Back to Top
The aggregate/lifetime limits for Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans are as follows:
Total (subsidized and unsubsidized combined): $224,000
Subsidized limit: $65,500
Total (subsidized and unsubsidized combined): $138,500
Subsidized limit: $65,500
Independent Undergraduate Students
Total (subsidized and unsubsidized combined): $57,500
Subsidized limit: $23,000
Dependent Undergraduate Students
Total (subsidized and unsubsidized combined): $31,000
Subsidized limit: $23,000
What are the aggregate/lifetime limits for Grad PLUS and Private Loans? Back to Top
They have no limits.
What will my monthly payments be when I graduate? Back to Top
Get an estimate using a repayment calculator.
What are the options for repayment? Back to Top
Visit the Department of Education website for descriptions of available plans and for repayment calculators.
Consider a single borrower earning $30,000 a year with $40,000 in federal education loans. Using the 2009 poverty line of $10,830 for the continental US, the monthly payment cap for each plan would be as follows:
Standard 10-year repayment will be $460.32
Income-contingent repayment will be $319.50
Extended 25-year repayment will be $277.63
Income-based repayment will be $171.94
Borrowers can change plans once a year.
Contact the servicer of your loans to determine what your monthly payments would be under a particular plan and choose the plan that makes the most sense for you financially.
What can I do to reduce my monthly payments? Back to Top
Borrow conservatively while you are in school and try to pay interest on all unsubsidized loans while you are in school. You can request to receive interest statements from your servicer.
What are my options for consolidation? Back to Top
Federal student loans can be consolidated together through Direct Loans/the U.S. Department of Education.
Subsidized/Unsubsidized loans, Perkins Loans, and Grad PLUS loans can be consolidated together. Parent PLUS loans cannot be consolidated with student loans, but the parent may consolidate all previous parent PLUS loans together.
Can I consolidate my private loans? Back to Top
Private student loans cannot be consolidated with federal student loans (Subsidized/Unsubsidized, Perkins, PLUS) but may be able to be consolidated together. Check with the lenders of any private loans you have to see if they offer private loan consolidation and what the terms are.
What are the benefits of consolidation? Back to Top
You will have one monthly payment and one point of contact for your loans that are consolidated together. Your interest rate will be a weighted average of the interest rates on all the loans.
What if I am having difficulty making my payments? Back to Top
Contact your lender to ask about deferment and forbearance options.