Help Center

Whether you’re getting ready to graduate from college or have student loans that have been in repayment for a while, use this help center to find articles and answers to assist you in managing your student loan debt.

Servicing How Tos

How do I find out who all of my student loan servicers are?

You may access the National Student Loan Data System using your social security number, first two letters of your last name, date of birth and FSA ID. This website will list all of your student loans along with servicer names and contact information.  You can use the web site to make inquiries about your Title IV loans and/or grants. The site displays information on loan and/or grant amounts, outstanding balances, loan statuses, and disbursements.

In order to find any alternative or private loans you have taken out for education, please pull your credit report for free at http://www.annualcreditreport.com.

How do I contact my servicer(s)?

View this list of servicers to find contact information for your servicer(s).

How do I get a credit report?

Visit www.annualcreditreport.com for free access to your credit report from all three major credit bureaus. In addition, check out www.myfico.com for more great information.

Repayment

How is student loan interest calculated?

Interest on all loans borrowed under the Department’s federal student loan programs are calculated on a simple daily basis.

The following formula demonstrates how the simple interest is calculated between payments:

Average daily balance between payments x
Interest rate x
(Number of days between payments/365.25)
= Monthly interest

Example:

How interest accrues between payments made on April 15 and May 15:

Average daily balance: $10,000 x Interest rate: .068 = $680
Days between payments (30/365.25) = 0.08214
Monthly interest: $680 x 0.08214 = $55.86

What are the repayment options for the PLUS loan?

The Direct PLUS Loan Program for parents offers three repayment plans-standard, extended, and graduated-that are designed to meet the different needs of individual borrowers. The terms differ between the repayment programs, but generally borrowers will have 10 to 25 years to repay a loan.

Is consolidation for me?
Learn more about consolidation and whether or not it's right for you.
What is the standard repayment plan for my loans?

The standard or "level" repayment plan is the default repayment schedule on any student loan. This plan automatically discloses payments for a 10 year repayment schedule with a $50 minimum monthly payment. However, the total time it takes to repay your loans may vary if you have a small balance.

What is the Income Sensitive Repayment Plan?

The Income Sensitive Repayment Plan lowers your monthly payment amount by basing your payments on a percentage of your income (from 4% to 25%). Borrowers must meet certain criteria to qualify for this plan. This plan only applies to loans that were disbursed under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).

What is the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan?

The Income-Contingent Repayment Plan is only available for loans disbursed under the Federal Direct Loan Program (FDLP). Under this plan, the monthly payment amount is set based on your AGI, family size, interest rate and the outstanding balance on your loan(s). The monthly payment amount is adjusted annually based on changes in annual income and family size. There are additional benefits such as restricted capitalization, loan forgiveness, and interest subsidies that may also be available while on this repayment plan.

When do my loan payments begin?

FFELP Stafford and direct subsidized or unsubsidized Loan

The first payment on your FFELP Stafford or Direct Subsidized or Direct Unsubsidized Loan will be due the very next month that follows the conclusion of your six-month grace period. For example, if your grace period ends in the month of December, your first payment will be due in January.

PLUS and gradplus Loan

For PLUS loans made to parents that are first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008, the borrower has the option of beginning repayment on the PLUS loan either 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed or wait until six months after the dependent student on whose behalf the parent borrowed ceases to be enrolled on at least a half-time basis.

PLUS Loans made to graduate and professional student borrowers (GradPLUS) may be deferred during the six-month period that begins the day after the end date of a deferment during which the borrower was enrolled at least half time. Interest will continue to accrue on the loan during these periods.

Deferments and Forbearances

What types of deferments are available?

Several types of deferment are available for Federal student loans.

What types of forbearances are available?

If you are working part-time or have no income, you may be eligible for the Economic Hardship Forbearance. To qualify, you must meet either of these guidelines:

  • have 0 income
  • your monthly payments on your student loans is greater than 20% of your gross monthly income

This forbearance can be applied up to a year at at time with a three-year maximum. Interest will accrue on both subsidized and unsubsidized loans during this time.

There is also a Temporary Hardship Forbearance available. No certification of financial hardship is required. This may be applied for up to a year at at time with a three-year maximum. Interest will accrue on both subsidized and unsubsidized loans during this time.

PLUS Loans

What are the repayment options for the PLUS loan?

The Direct PLUS Loan Program for parents offers three repayment plans-standard, extended, and graduated-that are designed to meet the different needs of individual borrowers. The terms differ between the repayment programs, but generally borrowers will have 10 to 25 years to repay a loan.

When do my loan payments begin?

For PLUS loans made to parents that are first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008, the borrower has the option of beginning repayment on the PLUS loan either 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed or wait until six months after the dependent student on whose behalf the parent borrowed ceases to be enrolled on at least a half-time basis.

Can I qualify for a PLUS loan?

Parents of dependent students may apply for a Direct PLUS Loan to help pay their child's education expenses as long as certain eligibility requirements are met. Graduate and professional students may apply for PLUS Loans for their own expenses.

To be eligible for a Direct PLUS Loan for Parents:

  • The parent borrower must be the student's biological or adoptive parent. In some cases, the student's stepparent may be eligible.
  • The student must be a dependent student who is enrolled at least half-time at a school that participates in the Direct Loan Program. Generally, a student is considered dependent if he or she is under 24 years of age, has no dependents, and is not married, a veteran, a graduate or professional degree student, or a ward of the court.
  • The parent borrower must not have an adverse credit history (a credit check will be done). If the parent does not pass the credit check, the parent may still receive a loan if someone (such as a relative or friend who is able to pass the credit check) agrees to endorse the loan. The endorser promises to repay the loan if the parent fails to do so. The parent may also still receive a loan if he or she can demonstrate extenuating circumstances.
  • The student and parent must be U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens, must not be in default on any federal education loans or owe an overpayment on a federal education grant, and must meet other general eligibility requirements for the federal student aid programs.

FFELP Stafford and Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loans

How does a grace period work?

A grace period is defined as an allotted amount of time during which you are not expected to make payments on your student loans after initially leaving school or dropping below half-time status.

Repayment for a FFELP Stafford and Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized student loan begins six months after you graduate, drop below half-time enrollment, or withdraw from school. If you allow your six-month grace period to elapse after leaving school, your loan will not be eligible to receive a new grace period in the future. However, if you interrupt your initial grace period by going back to school, enroll in enough units to maintain at least half-time status in a qualifying course of study and file the appropriate student deferment form, you will be allotted another six-month grace period.

What are the repayment plans available for FFELP Stafford and Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loans?
View this list of repayment plans for federal student loans.