FAQ
For questions concerning your student loan, please click the options below:
Repayment Information
When does repayment on my loan begin?

If you borrowed a Federal Subsidized Loan, payments of principal and interest start six months after your enrollment drops below half-time status. During this six-month grace* period, the Federal government pays the interest that accrues on the subsidized loan.
 
If you borrowed a Federal Unsubsidized Loan, payments of principal and interest start six months after your enrollment drops below half-time status. However, as soon as the unsubsidized loan is disbursed, interest begins accruing. You can choose to pay the interest in monthly or quarterly installments, or you can defer interest until it is time to begin repaying the loan principal.
 
Once you are out of school or enrolled less than half-time, you will be contacted by your loan servicer concerning repayment of your student loan.
 
*If you received a Direct Subsidized Loan that was first disbursed between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2014, you will be responsible for paying any interest that accrues during your grace period. If you choose not to pay the interest that accrues during your grace period, the interest will be added to your principal balance.

What is a loan servicer, and how do I find out who is servicing my loan?

A loan servicer is an organization hired by a lender or the Department of Education to administer student loans. It is very important that you notify your loan servicer if your address or phone number changes. 

If you do not know who your loan servicer is, please sign on to NSLDS. Once you are on this website, you can click on the servicer listed for your student loan to find out their contact information. 

If you know who your loan servicer is, you can find their contact information here

To whom do I make my payments?

You will make payments to your student loan servicer. 

If you do not know who your loan servicer is, please sign on to NSLDS. Once you are on this website, you can click on the servicer listed for your student loan to find out their contact information. 

If you know who your loan servicer is, you can find their contact information here

Is there a prepayment penalty?

No. You may prepay at any time without penalty. 

Unless you request otherwise, a prepayment received during a period when regular payments are due must be applied to future installments if the payment received equals or exceeds the regularly scheduled payment amount. The total amount of interest you pay can be reduced if you make loan payments during the grace period or if you pay more than your scheduled payments. 

How long will it take me to repay my loan?

A standard repayment period may not exceed 10 years; however, alternate plans have longer repayment periods. For example, Income-Based Repayment has a maximum repayment term of 20 or 25 years depending on when the loans were disbursed. You can change repayment plans at least once per year. Forbearance and deferment time periods do not count against the repayment term on your loan. 

What repayment plans are available?

Several repayment plans are available for Federal student loans. The availability of some repayment plans may vary, depending on your outstanding loan balance, type of loan, and repayment term remaining. The repayment plans available are: 
• Standard 
• Graduated 
• Extended 
• Income-Based 
• Income Sensitive 
• Income-Contingent 
• Pay As You Earn 
Contact your loan servicer to determine the repayment plan that is best for you. To see details of the repayment plans available and to use the repayment estimator, please click here

Deferment and Forbearance
What if I am having trouble making my loan payments?

If you are having trouble making a payment on your student loan, contact your loan servicer as soon as possible. Several options are available to help reduce or postpone your student loan payment. You may be able to lower your monthly payment by changing the repayment plan. You may be able to postpone your payment for a time period if you qualify for a deferment or a forbearance. 

What is deferment?

A deferment is an authorized temporary suspension of repayment and may be granted under certain circumstances. If you have a subsidized student loan, you will not be charged interest during the deferment period. You must apply and meet certain eligibility criteria for a deferment to be granted. The most common deferments are: 
•    In-school 
•    Unemployment 
•    Economic hardship 
•    Graduate fellowship 
•    Disability rehabilitation training 
•    Military service 

To find out more about these deferment types, please click here

To apply for a deferment, please contact your loan servicer. If you do not know who your loan servicer is, please sign on to NSLDS. Once you are on this website, you can click on the servicer listed for your student loan to find out their contact information. 

If you know who your loan servicer is, you can find their contact information at here


What is forbearance?

If you are unable to make your scheduled loan payments, but you do not qualify for a deferment, you may qualify for a forbearance. With a forbearance, you may be able to stop making payments or reduce your monthly payment for up to 12 months. Interest will continue to accrue on your Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans during the forbearance. There are two types of forbearance that you may apply for: a discretionary forbearance and a mandatory forbearance. 
Your loan servicer may grant a discretionary forbearance if you are willing but unable to make payments and do not qualify for a deferment. Instances in which a discretionary forbearance may be granted are: 
•    Experiencing temporary financial hardship 
•    Less-than-half time enrollment 
•    Unemployment (beyond maximum deferment time limit) 
•    Reduction in work hours 
•    Life changing circumstances 

If you meet the eligibility criteria for a mandatory forbearance, your loan servicer is required to grant the forbearance. You can request a mandatory forbearance for the following reasons: 
•    Serving in a medical or dental internship or residency program 
•    The total amount you owe each month for all of the student loans you received is 20 percent or more of your total monthly gross income 
•    Serving in a national service position for which you received a national service award (AmeriCorps) 
•    Performing teaching service that would qualify for teacher loan forgiveness 
•    Performing the type of service that would qualify for partial repayment of your loans under the U.S. Department of Defense Student Loan Repayment Program 
•    A member of the National Guard who has been activated by a governor, but you are not eligible for a military deferment 

To find out more about forbearance information, please click here. To apply for a forbearance, please contact your loan servicer. If you do not know who your loan servicer is, please sign on to NSLDS. Once you are on this website, you can click on the servicer listed for your student loan to find out their contact information. 

If you know who your loan servicer is, you can find their contact information here

Delinquent and Default
What happens if I become delinquent on my loan payment?

You are considered delinquent the day after your payment was due. If you are having difficulty making your payments, please contact your loan servicer as soon as possible. Once you become delinquent, your loan servicer will attempt to contact you to help you determine the best solution for getting back on track. Additionally, the school you attended may attempt to contact you as well. Please do not ignore phone calls, emails or letters from your student loan servicer, your institution or an entity representing your institution. 

What happens if I default on my student loan?

If you fail to make timely payments and your account becomes more than nine months delinquent, you will be considered in default. Your student loan account may be assigned to a collection agency. The default will be reported to a national credit bureau and will become part of your credit record, making it difficult for you to get other types of credit. You will no longer be eligible for Federal student aid. You may face additional consequences if your loan enters default. 

Discharge and Forgiveness
Can my loan be discharged?

Yes. In certain circumstances, a discharge may release you from all obligations to repay the loan. Examples include: 
•    Total and permanent disability 
•    Death (of student or parent borrower, or student for whom parent borrowed PLUS loan) 
•    Bankruptcy (in rare cases) 
•    Closed school (before student could complete program of study) 
•    False loan certification 
•    School does not make required return of loan funds to the loan servicer 

For more information concerning loan discharge, please click here

For information on how to apply for total and permanent disability, please go to Disability Discharge

I am a teacher. Can my loan be forgiven?

Yes. To qualify for Teacher Loan Forgiveness, you must teach full-time for five consecutive, complete academic years in certain schools or educational service agencies that serve low-income families. You may be eligible for forgiveness of up to $17,500 of student loan principal and interest. To view all of the requirements for Teacher Loan Forgiveness, please click here

Once you have completed the required five years of teaching, please contact your loan servicer to complete the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application. 

I work in public service. Can my loan be forgiven?

Yes. To qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), you must work in public service and make 120 qualifying payments while employed full-time by a public service employer. You may qualify for forgiveness for the remainder of your Federal Direct Student Loan balance. Eligible loans include: 
•    Direct Stafford Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized) 
•    Direct PLUS Loans (for parents and graduate or professional students) 
•    Direct Consolidation Loans 

Your required 120 payments must be made under one of the following repayment plans: 
•    Income-Based Repayment Plan 
•    Income-Contingent Repayment Plan 
•    Pay As you Earn Repayment Plan 
•    Standard Repayment Plan Direct Stafford Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized) 

For more information regarding Public Service Loan Forgiveness, please click here

Loan Consolidation
What is a Consolidated Loan?

A Consolidation Loan combines several student loans into one loan from a single loan holder, which pays the balance on your other student loans. Although a Consolidation Loan can simplify loan repayment and lower your monthly payments by extending repayment terms, it also can significantly increase the total cost of repaying your loans. Once a Consolidation Loan is made, it cannot be unmade. You should also take into consideration the impact of losing any borrower benefits offered under non-consolidated repayment plans. Borrower benefits, which may include interest rate discounts, principal rebates, or some loan cancellation benefits, can significantly reduce the cost of repaying your loan. 

A consolidation repayment calculator can be used to help determine your monthly payments. To find out more information using a consolidation repayment calculation, please here

For more information concerning a Consolidation Loan and how to apply for a Consolidation Loan, please click here

Scholarships