Repay Your Student Loans
Student loans don’t have to be a crushing burden for the rest of your life.
If you make a plan and don’t panic or avoid your loans, you can successfully manage your student loan debt. It will take time and discipline, but you can do it.
There are many online resources with advice and strategies for repaying student loans. If you have federal student loans, your best resource is the Federal Student Aid Guide to Repaying Loans.
The WSU Financial Aid Office is not a personal finance expert, but here are some tips for repaying student loans.
Make sure you track how much you've borrowed & who your loan servicer is.
It’s easy to think about student loans only once a year when you’re applying for financial aid.
But it’s a better practice to keep tabs on the total amount you’ve borrowed. It’ll help you avoid over-borrowing and prevent an unpleasant surprise to ruin your graduation celebration.
You’ll also want to know who your loan servicer is since they will be your go-to resource for any questions about your loans. The loan servicer will also handle your monthly loan bill and payments.
Find your federal loan information in the My Federal Student Aid portal
Many federal loans have a grace period for repayment.
One benefit of a federal loan is that you often have a grace period on loan payments. The grace period is usually six months after you graduate, leave or drop below half-time enrollment.
WSU will send you a notice to complete online exit counseling if you have borrowed from certain federal loans, which will detail your rights, responsibilities and next steps.
WSU does send enrollment information to a national clearinghouse used by lenders. However, you should contact your loan provider to learn about repaying your loan once you change your enrollment status.
There are a variety of repayment plans for federal loans.
The federal loan program offers several repayment plans, including some based on your income. This makes it easier to find the plan that works for your budget once you graduate.
Use the Repayment Estimator tool to see what your federal loan payments could be under different plans.
Get help before you fall behind.
Whatever you do, don’t miss a payment.
Missing student loan payments or going into default will make it harder for you to take out future loans and have other serious consequences.
Talk to your loan servicer if you are worried about your loan payments.
Private loans are totally up to the lenders’ repayment policies.
Often, you will have to make payments right away on a private student loan. You typically won’t have as many options for repayment plans either.
Make sure you understand all the terms of your private student loan, and contact your loan provider whenever you have questions.
Be very careful about loan debt relief or consolidation companies--especially if they charge a fee
While there are legitimate companies, many are scams. It might not be in your best interest to use these services because often you’ll pay for services offered for free at the Department of Education.
When you consolidate with a private company, you may end up with higher interest rates, higher monthly payments and less flexibility for payment plans.
For private loans, talk to your loan servicer before you sign up with a loan consolidation company.