Personal Finances

About Repaying Your Student Loans

Repayment plans have a lot of nuances. There are many options available, and some have limits or qualifications you must meet. You might find some to be perfectly molded to your economic situation.

Types of loans

There are two types of federal loans: Federal Family Education Loans, which are made by private lenders but guaranteed by the federal government; and Direct Loans, which are made directly by the federal government. The former has a grace period of six months, while the latter offers a grace period of nine months.

There are also PLUS loans, which are for parents of students. Those with PLUS loans do not have a grace period. However, getting a deferment on paying back the loans is possible for students who are enrolled at least half-time.

The importance of making timely payments

Once your payment period begins, it is important to treat your student loan just as you would any other loan. Failure to pay has major consequences. If you are not the disciplined type, one option that might help you is electronic payment, in which your bank or credit union automatically and regularly deducts your payments from one of your deposit accounts. An advantage of this approach (provided that you keep sufficient funds in the account) is that it can reduce the overall amount of interest you pay. Your loan servicer can assist you with setting up electronic payment.

Want more information about your loans?

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Student Loan Data System provides information on your federal loans, including loan types, disbursed amounts, principal and interest, and the total amount of all your loans. You can access the site at

There are two types of federal loans: Federal Family Education Loans and Direct Loans.
Failure to pay on your student loan has major consequences.
You can change your repayment plan if need be.

If You Have Difficulty Repaying Your Student Loans

Sometimes bad things happen in life. Sometimes you can’t make payments on your loan. In this case, you have options. You can change your repayment plan, you can request a deferment or forbearance on your payments, or you can change the size of the payments or the payback period. In some cases, cancellation is an option, but this comes with strict requirements.