If you’re getting ready to graduate, it’s time to start thinking about repaying your students loans. Knowledge is power when it comes to repayment; knowing what to expect and staying on top of your loan payments can help you fulfill your financial goals.
How much do I owe?
To keep track of how much you have borrowed in Federal student loans, go to The National Student Loan Data System, the U.S. Department of Education’s central database for student aid. Note: You will need your FSA ID and password to access this site. Note: If you’ve taken out private loans, you’ll need to contact your lender(s) to find out the total amount you’ve borrowed.
Who is my loan servicer?
A federal loan servicer will be assigned by the Department of Education and communicate directly with students. You may also look up who your loan servicer is in The National Student Loan Data System.
Contact your loan servicer for information about:
- Loan repayment
Calculating monthly payments
Don’t forget to factor your loan repayments into your after-graduation living expenses. Think of your loan payments as a fixed cost, such as rent, utilities or car payment that you will need to include in your budget.
Use this student loan online calculator to help you determine what your monthly payments might be.
How do I know which repayment plan is best for me?
Take a breath and relax -- you do have some time to adjust to the real world.
After borrowers graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, loans that were made for that period of study have several months before payments are due. This period is called the "grace period." Grace periods extend between 6 and 12 months after borrowers leave school.
A few facts about grace periods:
- Most Federal Direct Loans have 6-month grace periods.
- Perkins Loans have grace periods of either 6 or 9 months, depending on when the loan was first disbursed.
- Health professions loans have grace periods of 9-12 months.
- Depending on the type of loan and when the loan was disbursed, interest may or may not accrue during the grace period.
- Repayment begins the day after a loan’s grace period end. First payments will be due within 60 days after the repayment periods begin.
- Each loan has only one grace period. If borrowers return to school after the grace periods has expired, the borrowers' loans qualify for deferment while borrowers are enrolled but return to repayment after borrowers leave school. There is no additional grace period.
Make sure to repay your loans on time
Keep in the habit of repaying your loans on time and avoid default. Doing so will help you establish good credit. Good credit is important when looking for a job, renting an apartment or buying your first car. Good credit can also lead to lower interest rates and creates more options for you in the future.
The Federal Student Aid Office of the Ombudsman
The FSA Ombudsman Group is a final resource after looking for help through other customer service avenues. Before contacting the Ombudsman Group, borrowers concerned about their student loan issues should contact their loan servicer or visit the Ombudsman website for further information. Current students should contact Binghamton’s Financial Aid office first.