How do I find my loan?
- Go to NSLDS.ed.gov and log on using your FSA ID username and password. Here you will find a listing of all of your Federal Direct and Stafford Loans, their loan servicers, and contact information (phone number and website) for each loan servicer.
I know my loan servicer/s, what’s next?
- Go to your loan servicer’s website and create an account. Once you are logged on, you can see your current outstanding balance (principal and interest) and set up your repayment plan.
When did/does interest begin to accrue?
- For Direct Unsubsidized Loans-interest begins to accrue the day after graduation, leaving school, or dropping below half-time status.
- For Subsidized Loans that were taken before July 1, 2012-interest starts to accrue 6 months after graduation, leaving school, or dropping below half-time status.
- For Subsidized Loans that were taken after July 1, 2012-interest starts to accrue the day after graduation, leaving school, or dropping below half-time status.
When do I start repayment?
- Repayment starts 6 months after graduation on your Federal Direct and Stafford Loans. You may begin making payments while you are in your 6-month grace period. This will help to lower your monthly payments once you start repayment.
What types of Repayment Plans are there?
- Standard Repayment- you'll pay a fixed amount each month until your loans are paid in full. Your monthly payments will be at least $50, and you'll have up to 10 years to re-pay your loans.
- Extended Repayment- you’ll pay a fixed annual or graduated repayment amount over a period not to exceed 25 years. You must have a minimum of $30,000 in combined Stafford and Direct loans.
- Graduated Repayment- payments start out low and increase every two years. The length of your repayment period will be up to ten years.
- Income Based Re-payment(IBR) Effective July 1, 2009- Under IBR, the required monthly payment is capped at an amount that is intended to be affordable based on income and family size. The monthly repayment amount under IBR will be less than the monthly amount calculated under a 10-year standard repayment plan. If you repay under the IBR plan for 25 years and meet other requirements you may have any remaining balance of your loan(s) cancelled. Additionally, if you work in public service and have reduced loan payments through IBR, the remaining balance after ten years in a public service job could be cancelled.
- Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) (Direct Loans Only)- This plan gives you the flexibility to meet your Direct Loans obligations without causing undue financial hardship. Each year, your monthly payments will be calculated on the basis of your adjusted gross income (AGI, plus your spouse's income if you're married), family size, and the total amount of your Direct Loans. Under the ICR plan you will pay each month the lesser of:
- The amount you would pay if you repaid your loan in 12 years multiplied by an income percentage fac-tor that varies with your annual income OR
- 20% of your monthly discretionary income.
- The maximum repayment period is 25 years. If you haven't fully repaid your loans after 25 years (time spent in deferment or for-bearance does not count) under this plan, the unpaid portion will be discharged. You may, however, have to pay taxes on the amount that is discharged.
How do I determine the right repayment plan for me?
What if I can’t afford my payments?
- You can change your monthly payment due date. If your due date does not work well with when you receive your paycheck, you can call your loan servicer and ask to change the due date.
- You can change your repayment plan. If you need lower monthly payments, you may need to switch to an income-base repayment plan.
- If your income is low enough, or you are not working, your monthly payments may equal $0. These still count as payments towards your loan if this is the repayment plan you set up.
- Consolidating your loans can help to simplify the repayment process.
- You can enter into forbearance.
- Contact your loan servicer. Not paying your federal loans will have severe consequences. Your loan servicer will have many ways to help, including deferring payment (forbearance) without destroying your credit.
What is loan consolidation?
- Loan consolidation is joining all your loans together so that there is one monthly payment due. You can log on to studentloans.gov to apply either electronically or download a paper application. This will go to the Department of Education. You will complete the Federal Direct Loan Consolidation Application and Master Promissory Note. Once your application is submitted, your consolidation servicer will complete the actions needed to consolidate your loans. This servicer will be your new point of contact for your loans.
- You can read more about Federal Loan Consolidation at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/consolidation
- Beware of companies offering to consolidate your loans. If you want to hold onto all your Federal Loan benefits only consolidate through the US Department of Education’s loan consolidation program
- This process can take 30 days to become effective. Plan accordingly so you do not miss any payments until consolidation is complete.
What if I have a Perkin’s Loan?
- Your Perkin’s Loan can be managed at ACS (www.acs-education.com). Interest accrues 9 months after graduation and your first payment is made 12 months after graduation. If you have any questions, you can contact them at (800) 826-4470 or visit their website.
- Repayments are made in a quarterly basis, for ten years.
What is student loan default?
- Default is failing to make payments on your student loan. Your loan becomes delinquent the first day you miss a student loan payment. Delinquency continues until all payments are made to bring your loan up to current. After 90 days, your delinquency is reported to three major credit bureaus. This can adversely impact your credit which will lead to problems when trying to buy a car, house, ect.
- Default occurs when you have not made a payment for 270 days for monthly payments. If you do not have monthly payments, default occurs when you have not made a payment for 330 days.
What if I am going on to some form of Graduate School?
- Your Federal Stafford and/or Direct Loans will go into deferment automatically. Your new school’s Registrar’s Office will notify the National Clearinghouse of your enrollment—which will then automatically put your loans in deferment.
- For your Perkin’s Loan, you should have received a deferment request form in the packet you received from Muhlenberg before graduation. You will need to take this form to your new school’s Registrar’s Office to be filled out and sent to your Perkin’s Loan Servicer.
What if I am going to take a year off before going to graduate school?
- 6 month grace period starts the day after graduation, therefore, once this grace period is up, you will need to start making payments on your undergraduate loans. You can apply for forbearance if you are not gainfully employed and cannot make payments.
- Once you finish grad school, leave, or drop below half time enrollment, if you used up your 6-month grace period before starting graduate school, you will begin to make your payments on your undergraduate loans immediately. There is only one 6-month grace period per loan.
- If you are starting grad school 6 months after graduation (for a spring term), you can contact your loan servicer to see if you will need to make any payments before you begin.
Are there programs that cancel or repay your student loans?