REPAYING YOUR STUDENT LOANS

If you are borrowing for college, think ahead to the time when you will begin repaying your loans.   How much will your monthly payments be?  When will repayment begin?  How long will you be making payments?

The information found on this page can help you manage your loan repayment. 

EXIT COUNSELING

Exit counseling will help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower and will provide useful tips and information to help you manage your loans.

Borrowers of Federal Direct loans who are no longer enrolled at least half-time must complete federally mandated exit counseling as soon as they cease enrollment. This is a federal regulation and applies to all students who have graduated, officially withdrawn, dropped below half-time enrollment, transferred to another institution, or simply ceased attendance. You may have been required to complete exit counseling in the past, but federal regulations require that you complete exit counseling every time you meet these conditions.

Exit counseling can be completed online, in about 30 minutes, through www.StudentLoans.gov. You will need your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) to log in.

Please note:  Students who have borrowed a Perkins loan must complete Perkins exit counseling.  You will be mailed exit counseling information prior to your graduation or separation from CMU. 

GRACE PERIOD

After you graduate, leave school or drop below half-time enrollment, you are entitled to one grace period for Direct and Perkins loans. During this time--which is typically six months for Direct and nine months for Perkins--you are not required to make payments.

Grace periods are day-specific. Your grace period begins on the day immediately following the day you stop attending school at least half-time and ends on the day before the repayment period begins.

The interest on Perkins loans and subsidized loans borrowed prior to the 2012-13 academic year is paid by the federal government during your grace period. On unsubsidized loans (and subsidized loans borrowed after the 2011-12 academic year), you are responsible for the interest. While you don't have to pay the interest during your grace period, any unpaid interest is capitalized--added to the loan principal--when repayment begins.

Repayment begins the day after your grace period ends; your first payment is due within 60 days. You will receive communication from your lender or servicer about repaying your loans. If you do not, be sure to contact your lender or servicer directly.

KNOW YOUR LOAN SERVICER

The U.S. Department of Education has multiple servicing companies to handle federal loans for students. The department will assign a loan servicer after your loan is disbursed or paid. This servicing company handles all billing, repayment plans and loan consolidation and can assist in anything related to your federal student loan. For a complete loan history and your personal loan servicer information, visit the National Student Loan Data System at www.nslds.ed.gov  (FSA ID is required).

REPAYING YOUR DIRECT LOAN

DIRECT LOAN REPAYMENT PLANS

The federal government offers several payment plans for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized and Direct Graduate PLUS Loan borrowers. Payment will vary depending on the amount and type of loans you have borrowed. 

For more information about all federal student loan payment options, visit the U.S. Department of Education's Direct Loan Repayment Plans page.

ESTIMATING YOUR MONTHLY PAYMENTS

For a one-stop calculator, visit StudentLoans.gov for the Repayment Estimator tool that uses real-time loan data to assist you. Sign in with your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) to access your data and get an early look at which plans you may be eligible for and compare monthly payments.

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also has an online interactive Repay Student Debt tool that takes you through a series of questions to help you determine your best repayment options. Click here to access the tool.

You may also visit the U.S. Department of Education StudentAid.ed.gov website for links to a variety of repayment calculators to help you decide on a plan. For these, you will need the cumulative amount of your federal loans; log into the National Student Loan Data System with your FSA ID to retrieve this information.

DIRECT LOAN FORGIVENESS AND FOREBEARANCE

Students who work full-time in public service jobs may qualify for forgiveness of the balance due on their eligible federal student loans after making 120 monthly payments under certain repayment plans. For more information, see the U.S. Department of Education's Public Service Loan Forgiveness webpage.  

If you are having trouble making your loan payments, you might qualify for a deferment, forbearance, or other form of payment relief. See the U.S. Department of Education's information on Postponing Repayment.

ESTIMATING PAYMENT FOR OTHER STUDENT LOANS

PERKINS

You can estimate your monthly payments on your Perkins using FinAid's Loan Calculator.

Once you've entered the required information in the calculator fields, click Calculate. If you select Print Payment Schedule, you will receive detailed information about your repayment schedule.

PRIVATE LOANS

You can also use FinAid's Loan Calculator to estimate your monthly payments for a private loan.

FEDERAL CONSOLIDATION LOANS

Consolidation happens when you combine multiple federal student loans, with various repayment schedules, into one loan. The result is one loan with one monthly payment. All federal student loans are eligible for consolidation (private education loans are not eligible).

Benefits of Consolidation:

  • Possible lower monthly payment.
  • The interest rate on a consolidation loan is the weighted average of the interest rates on the loans being consolidated, rounded up to the nearest 1/8 of a percent and capped at 8.25%.
  • Repayment may be extended for up to 30 years.
  • You receive a fixed interest rate on your consolidation loan.
  • One single payment to one lender.

To learn more about consolidation, or to apply for a consolidation loan, visit www.loanconsolidation.ed.gov.