How to Manage Your Student Loans
If you have a federal student loan, there are several options available to help you manage your debt. And if you’re having trouble making your loan payments, contact your loan servicer immediately. Your loan servicer will walk you through your options. For example, you might consider changing your repayment plan. There are several repayment options available to you. Most borrowers start off with the standard repayment plan, which offers a fixed payment over a 10-year period. However, you can lower your initial monthly payments using a graduated repayment plan that starts with lower monthly payments that gradually increase over time. Or if you qualify, you may be able to lower your monthly payments by extending them over a longer period of time. Finally, you may be able to choose a repayment plan that ties your monthly payments to your income. If you meet certain requirements, you may be able to defer or temporarily postpone your payments for a variety of reasons, including a return to school, unemployment, or military service. If you’re having trouble making your loan payments, but do not qualify for a deferment, your loan servicer may grant forbearance, which allows you to postpone or reduce your monthly payment for a limited period of time due to financial difficulty or certain other reasons. Contact your loan servicer to see if you qualify for deferment or forbearance. If you have multiple federal loans, consolidating them into one loan may also help you better manage your debt. In addition to having to make only one federal student loan payment each month, your monthly payment amount may be lower since the length of your repayment schedule may be extended. Consolidating your loans is easy and can be done any time after you leave school. Switching repayment plans, exploring deferment and forbearance options, or consolidating your loans may help you better manage your student loan payments and avoid default. Remember, if you’re having difficulty making payments, contact your loan servicer immediately to discuss the pros and cons of these options. If you have questions or need more information, please visit StudentAid.gov.