Repaying Your Loan


Loan Exit Counseling

When you graduate, withdraw from school, or change to less than half-time enrollment status (less than 6 credits), you must complete loan exit counseling online.

To complete, go to the Loan Exit Counseling website. You will need to enter your social security number, date of birth, and the PIN that you received when you applied for aid. You may request a duplicate PIN if you no longer have this information.

In loan exit counseling, you review your rights and responsibilities as a borrower and complete a short quiz. Your answers will be forwarded to the Financial Aid Office.

When Payments Are Due

When you graduate, withdraw from school, or drop below less than half-time enrollment status (less than 6 credits), you will have a 6-month grace period before your first loan payment is due. This time can allow you to get financially settled, select your repayment plan and determine the amount of income you need to put toward your student loan each month. Your repayment period begins the day after your grace period ends. Your first payment will be due within 45 days after your repayment period begins. These repayment conditions are governed by the U.S. Department of Education and apply to all students who receive student loans.

PLUS loans do not have a grace period. The repayment period for a PLUS loan begins on the day after the final loan disbursement is made. However, you may defer repayment of a PLUS loan while you are enrolled in school on at least half-time basis, and for PLUS loans with a first disbursement date on or after July 1, 2008, for an additional six months after you graduate, withdraw or drop below half-time enrollment status (less than 6 credits). Your first PLUS loan payment will be due within 45 days after your deferment ends. For more information on PLUS loan deferment and repayment options, please contact your lender.

The monthly payment amount of your loans depends on the repayment option you choose; see Repayment Options below. You may prepay all or part of your loan at any time without penalty. You will save money by paying off your loans early. Some lenders offer repayment incentives that encourage you to repay your loans on time, including, but not limited to, interest rate reductions, or up-front interest rebates. If you want an option other than standard repayment, contact your lender before the end of your grace period.

NOTE:  If you withdraw or otherwise fail to complete the period of enrollment for which you have received a loan, you may have to repay a portion of the loan. For details, see Eligibility and Conditions.

Repayment Options

Standard Repayment

You generally pay a fixed amount each month for up to 10 years.  You payment must be at least $50 a month. 

Other Repayment Options

To choose one of these options, contact your lender BEFORE the end of your grace period. NOTE: If you don't choose a repayment plan or do not provide additional documentation that is required for certain repayment plans, your loan holder or loan servicer will place your loan on the Standard Repayment Plan.

Graduated Repayment Option

Your payments start out low at first and then will increase, usually every two years.  You must repay your loan in full within 10 years. At a minimum, your payments must cover the interest that accumulates on your loans between payments. This plan is tailored to individuals with relatively low current incomes (e.g., recent college graduates) who expect their incomes to increase in the future. However, you will ultimately pay more for your loan with this option than you would under the Standard Plan, because more interest accumulates in the early years of the plan when your outstanding loan balance is higher and your monthly payment is smaller.

Extended Repayment Option

If you are a FFEL borrower, to qualify for this plan you must have had no outstanding balance on a FFEL Program loan as of October 7, 1998, or on the date you obtained a FFEL Program loan after October 7, 1998, and you must have more than $30,000 in outstanding FFEL Program loans. If you are a Direct Loan borrower, you must have no outstanding balance on a Direct Loan as of October 7, 1998, or on the date you obtained a Direct Loan after October 7, 1998, and you must have more than $30,000 in outstanding Direct Loans. This means, for example, that if you have $35,000 in outstanding FFEL Program Loans and $10,000 in outstanding Direct Loans, you can choose the extended repayment plan for your FFEL Program loans, but not for your Direct Loans.

Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Option

Under IBR, the required monthly payment is capped at an amount that is intended to be affordable based on your income and family size. You are eligible for IBR if the monthly repayment amount calculated under IBR will be less than the monthly amount calculated under a 10-year standard repayment plan. If you repay under the IBR for 25 years and meet other requirements, you may have any remaining balance of your loan(s) canceled. Additionally, if you work in public service and have reduced loan payments through IBR, the remaining balance after 10 years in a public service job could be canceled. You may contact your loan holder or loan servicer, or visit  for more detailed information about the Income-Based Repayment Plan.

Income-Sensitive Repayment (for FFELP program loans only)

Your payments are adjusted annually on the basis of your income. As your income fluctuates, so do your payments. Depending on the size of the debt and your monthly income, you may be allowed up to 15 years to repay your loan. Your monthly payments must be at least the amount of the monthly interest.


Other Important Payment Reminders
  • You must make payments on your loan even if you don't receive a bill or repayment notice.

  • Billing statements (or coupon books) are sent to you as a convenience. You are obligated to make payments even if you do not receive any reminders. Contact your lender or loan servicer to discuss setting up automatic payments.

  • You must also make monthly payments for the full amount required by your repayment plan. Partial payments do not fulfill your obligation to repay your student loan on time.

  • If you are making late or partial payments, contact your loan holder or loan servicer immediately for help.

  • If you are having trouble making your scheduled monthly payments, there are options to help. You may be able to lower your monthly payment by changing to a different repayment plan or you may be able to temporarily postpone your payments through deferment or forbearance.

  • If you apply for a deferment or forbearance, you must continue to make payments until you have been notified that your request has been approved.