Search form

Help your students understand their options and responsibilities as student loan borrowers.

If you have a basic familiarity with the federal student loan repayment process and know where to find answers to questions, you can more effectively advise your students.

Loan Repayment Basics

A wealth of information about loan repayment, including details about when repayment begins, what happens if a student goes into repayment but then returns to school, what the latest interest rates are, and more, is at StudentAid.gov/repay. Make sure all of your students are aware of that URL so they can take control of their loan repayment. And take a look at the tips and resources we've provided on this page for your use.

Loan Servicers
Repayment Plans
Loan Consolidation
Loan Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge
Options for Borrowers Having Trouble Making Payments
Getting Out of Default
Resolving Disputes

Repayment: What to Expect Video(Result Type: VIDEO)
Description: Learn about loan repayment options and selecting a repayment plan, the role of loan servicers, and looking up student loan history in the NSLDS system.
Resource Type: Videos
Also Available in: Spanish Captioned(Result Type: VIDEO)
Related: How to Manage Your Student Loans Video(Result Type: VIDEO)Repay Your Federal Student Loans(Result Type: PDF)


Loan Servicers

If you're working with a student who isn't sure where to send payments for his or her loan, you should recommend the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®). NSLDS provides information about which loan servicer is handling a borrower's loan.

Talking point: The borrower should keep in touch with his or her loan servicer regarding any questions, problems, change of address, return to school, or anything that could affect repayment of the loan.

top


Repayment Plans

There are several federal student loan repayment plans available to borrowers. We suggest that each borrower review the options and decide which plan is right for him or her.

Talking points:

  • Some repayment plans offer student loan repayment based on income.
  • Borrowers must make regular monthly payments even if they don't receive a monthly billing statement.
  • A borrower may change repayment plans at any time.

Repayment Estimator(Result Type: Web Resources and Tools)
Description: Online tool borrowers can use to compare loan repayment plan options using either their actual or estimated loan data.
Resource Type: Web Resources and Tools
Also Available in: Spanish(Result Type: General)
Related: Repay Your Federal Student Loans(Result Type: PDF)

top


Loan Consolidation

Help your students weigh the benefits and drawbacks of getting a Direct Consolidation Loan.

Talking points:

  • Loan consolidation can simplify repayment because only one monthly payment must be made; but when you consolidate, you might lose some benefits that were attached to the underlying loans.
  • Borrowers cannot refinance a Direct Consolidation Loan to get a lower interest rate.

top


Loan Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge

In some instances, a federal student loan can be forgiven, canceled, or discharged. Examples of these circumstances include the borrower's work in public service or his or her total and permanent disability. Encourage borrowers to investigate their options carefully and continue to make payments on their loans until the forgiveness, cancellation, or discharge has gone through.

Talking point: It is extremely rare for a federal student loan to be discharged in bankruptcy.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program(Result Type: PDF)
Description: Fact sheet describing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, including eligibility and employment requirements.
Resource Type: Handouts

top


Options for Borrowers Having Trouble Making Payments

If a borrower finds his or her payments too high, he or she should contact the loan servicer to discuss options, which may include the following:

  • Changing the payment due date,
  • switching repayment plans to get a lower monthly payment,
  • getting a deferment or forbearance, or
  • consolidating the loans.

Find more tips for avoiding default.

Talking point: Default is not inevitable.

How to Manage Your Student Loans Video(Result Type: VIDEO)
Description: Get info on how to manage student loans, including changing repayment plans, and options for students who are having trouble making payments.
Resource Type: Videos
Also Available in: Spanish Captioned(Result Type: VIDEO)
Related: Repayment Estimator(Result Type: General)Repay Your Federal Student Loans(Result Type: PDF)Got a Federal Student Loan? Be a Responsible Borrower!(Result Type: PDF)

Successfully Managing Your Student Loans(Result Type: PPT)
Description: Presentation that helps borrowers learn how to deal with debt and repay their loans.
Resource Type: Presentations
Related: Repay Your Federal Student Loans(Result Type: PDF)How to Manage Your Student Loans Video(Result Type: VIDEO)

top


Getting Out of Default

Unfortunately, too many borrowers wait until they're in default and find that their tax refund has been taken as payment before seeking help. If you're working with someone who's in default, reassure them that there are ways to resolve loan default, including repayment, rehabilitation, or consolidation. The important thing is for them to contact the loan servicer as quickly as possible.

top


Resolving Disputes

Sometimes a borrower might get discouraged because he or she doesn't agree with the amount the loan servicer says is outstanding or feels that a determination of default is wrong. Find out how to resolve disputes about federal student loans, including getting help from the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group.

top