Student Loans

Repayment Plans

How soon you must pay and the amount of your payments will depend upon your student loan types and sometimes your current earnings.

When will your loan payments begin?external link icon

How soon you must repay your student loan depends on your type of loan. Some loans require payments while you are in school. Others wait until you leave school. Some federal loans provide a grace period before you must start repayment of your student loans. A grace period is a set period of time before you must begin repayment, usually at one of the following events: (1) student graduates; (2) student drops below half the credits needed to be full time; or (3) student withdraws from the academic program. Once your grace period ends, you must begin repaying your loan.

Direct PLUS Loansexternal link icon do not have a grace period. Repayment for PLUS loans begins immediately after the loan is disbursed. Private and state student loans often offer no grace period, and many require you to make interest payments while in school.

What will be the amount of your loan payments?external link icon

The amount of your payments depends on the terms of your loan and, in the case of federal loans, the available repayment options. You must repay your loans regardless of the outcome of your education. Even if you don’t finish school, can’t find a job in your field of study, or are unhappy with the education financed by your loan, you must still repay your student loans.

Federal student loan repayment options for borrowers include the following:

Choosing a Repayment Optionexternal link icon

Not every federal student loan debt is eligible for every federal repayment option. Check with your student loan servicer to learn more about your options in deciding or changing your repayment plan. To more easily navigate your federal student loan repayment options, go to this student loan repayment option webpage.external link icon The federal government launched this webpage to inform student loan borrowers about repayment options best-fitted for their unique circumstances. The webpage also covers private and non-federal loans. You can also check with your student loan servicer to learn your options in deciding or changing your repayment plan.

A repayment estimator toolexternal link icon is available from the U.S. Department of Education. This tool can tell you what your payments would be under the repayment plan based on the amount of the loan.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau webpage toolexternal link icon also lists options for how to pay off your student loans, both federal and private loans, based on basic information about your situation.

Private Student Loansexternal link icon

In general, most private loans offer fewer repayment options than federal student loans. Some private lenders may offer only one standard type of repayment plan with little flexibility. Other lenders might offer more than one type of repayment plan, including ones based on your income.

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a webpage toolexternal link icon that lists options and advice for how to pay off your private student loans, as well as federal loans, based on basic information about your situation.

Check with your lender or loan servicer to determine what repayment options are available to you for your loan and which works best for you.