Managing your loans

Beginning with your first semester, it’ll be helpful to keep track of both your federal and private student loans. Here are some tips for managing them:

1.You need to apply for a new loan every year you’re in college.
2.You must be enrolled in school at least half-time.
3.Interest accrues on your student loan throughout the life of the loan. Making in-school payments can lower the total cost of your loan.
4.Once you leave school, whether you graduate or not, you’ll generally have a grace period of six months before you begin to make principal and interest payments.
5.As you continue to take out federal or private student loans throughout your years in college, keep a list of the lenders, how much you’re borrowing—and don’t forget to borrow responsibly.

Know the details of your loan agreement

Your loan provider will give you all the information you need regarding your student loan, including when your first payment is due. Make sure you know:

  • Which type of loan you have
  • The total amount of your loan
  • Your interest rate
  • Your ongoing outstanding principal amount
  • Your payment amount
  • Your payment due dates
  • What happens/who to contact if you can’t make payment

Make your payments on time

It is very important that you make your full payments on time according to your payment schedule (usually monthly). To make sure you don’t forget – and in some cases, reduce your monthly interest rate – you may be able to have your loan payment automatically deducted from your bank account. Ask your loan provider if this is an option.

Ask for help when you need it

If you’re having trouble making payments, contact your loan provider as soon as possible to discuss your options. You may be able to:

  • Change your repayment plan to make payments easier
  • Request deferment, which allows you to temporarily stop making payments under certain circumstances
  • Request forbearance to temporarily suspend or reduce your payments

If you stop making payments without deferment or forbearance, your loan could go into default, and your loan provider may pursue serious action to recover the money you owe.