Student Loan Repayment
The repayment terms for alternative/private lenders are based on the lender. Contact your lender or review your loan documents to determine when you will need to start making payments, what your payment amount is, and how long you will need to make payments. You can also contact your lender to see if they offer other repayment options. If you are having trouble making your payments, contact your lender and see if they can work with you. Some lenders offer deferments and forbearances. Learn more about deferments and forbearances below.
There are many repayment plans for federal loans. When you start making payments and what repayment plan you are eligible for depends on what type of federal loan you received. You can determine the types of federal loans you received by reviewing your loan history on the National Student Loan Database (NSLDS).
All federal loans issued since July 1, 2018 are Federal Direct Loans. There are 3 types of Federal Direct Loans: Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS.
Federal Loans issued between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2018, are either Federal Direct Loans or Federal Perkins Loans.
Undergraduate students can receive Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loans. Parents of dependent students can receive PLUS Loans. Graduate Students can receive Unsubsidized Loans or PLUS Loans. Undergraduate and graduate students were eligible to receive Perkins Loans. Until July 1, 2012, graduate students could receive Subsidized Loans.
We will only be discussing repayment for Federal Direct Loans here. If you have a FFEL loan or Perkins loan, you can read about repayment on Student Aid's website or contact your lender to learn about repayment options.
When does repayment start?
For Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans, you have a six month grace period before you are required to start making regular payments. This grace period starts the day you are no longer enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school.
PLUS loans start repayment when the loan is fully disbursed unless you opt to defer payments while you or your child (for Parent PLUS loans) is in school at least half-time.
Returning to school, being called to active duty, or consolidating your loan may change when your repayment starts. Contact your lender to find out how these situations will impact you.
What are my repayment options?
You will automatically be placed on the standard repayment plan which is 10 years. Your payment amount will be based on your loan balance and interest rate and be calculated to ensure your entire balance plus interest is paid off after 10 years of payments. You can request a different repayment plan at any time.
There are 8 different repayment plans including the standard repayment plan. 5 of the repayment plans base your payments on your income.
You can view all of the repayment plans, their requirements, and how payments are determined here.
What if I am having trouble making my payments or am already in default?
If you have missed a payment, multiple payments, or are having trouble making payments, immediately contract your loan servicer or lender to discuss options to get back on track. You may qualify for an income based repayment plan with a payment as low as $0.
Federal Loan Repayment Estimator
At any time, you can use the repayment estimator to estimate your student loan payments under each of the repayment plans. You can choose to login using your FSA ID to use your current loan balance or add your loans manually. Access the repayment estimator here.
Loan Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
If you are employed by a government or nonprofit organization, you may be eligible to receive under the PSLF Program. PSLF forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer. Other federal student loans may become eligible for PSLF if they are consolidated into the Direct Loan Program.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness
If you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in a low-income elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency, you may be eligible for forgiveness of up to $17,500 on your Direct Loan or FFEL Program loans.
Total and Permanent Disability Discharge
If you are totally and permanently disabled, you may qualify for a discharge of your federal student loans and/or TEACH Grant service obligation.
Discharge in Bankruptcy
In rare cases, you can have your federal student loans discharged after declaring bankruptcy, however, this is not an automatic process.
Discharge Due to Death
Federal student loans will be discharged due to the death of the borrower or the student on whose behalf a PLUS loan was taken out.
Discharge Due to Closed School, False Certification, or School Issues
If your school closed while you were enrolled, falsely certified your eligibility to receive a loan, did something or failed to do something related to your loan or to the education services that the loan was intended to pay for, or failed to return funds, you may be eligible for a discharge.
Office of Financial Aid
Montebello Complex, Rm. A-203
1700 E. Cold Spring Lane
Baltimore, Maryland 21251