Borrowing for your education is one of the most important and worthwhile investments you will ever make. But like all investments, it takes a good design and careful thought to be successful. As you plan your educational financing, think ahead to the time when you will begin repaying your loans: How much will your monthly payments be? When will they begin? How long will you be making them? The information on this page can help you think realistically about how your student loan borrowing—to help you make decisions now that will allow you to manage your loan repayment after graduation.
Student loans are part of creating a personal financial plan: create a budget plan now that will help you keep your expenses manageable, now and after graduation.
Online Information Sessions
HeroKnowl - FREE Loan Management Services
SAIC has partnered with Inceptia, a non-profit organization, to assist students and alumni, with their student loans. Go to HeroKnowl.org to meet the Knowl at Student Loan Knowledge Headquarters! He’s got knowledge to share about student loans and to help keep your financial stress low. The Knowl will give you all the advice you need, some smart tips and a good game plan to stay on top of your student loans, whether you’re in school, in repayment, or in between.
Your Federal Direct Loan Servicer (Federal Direct Stafford and PLUS Loans)
You may always directly contact your Loan Servicers if you wish. Just like our SALT Counselors, they want to help you in any way they can to prevent you from becoming delinquent on your loans and stay in good standing. If you don’t know your Loan Servicer, see a list of Servicers and login to studentaid.ed.gov/repay to find out who is your Loan Servicer. Once logged in, you will see a summary of all your federal loans. You can email, live chat or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center. Information is at studentaidhelp.ed.gov
Learning About Your Loans and Repayment Options
When you leave school (or drop below half-time enrollment), the last official date of attendance (or separation date) marks the beginning of the loan(s) grace period.
During the grace period, you will receive a repayment schedule disclosure statement. Before the loan enters the repayment stage, you will need to decide on a repayment plan that works best for your particular situation. If a repayment option is not selected, a Standard Repayment Plan will be assumed. If you have any concerns about the ability to make payments according to the repayment schedule, contact your loan servicer immediately. The chances are good that there is a repayment option available to fit each individual's particular circumstances. Although you may select or be assigned a repayment plan when you first begin repaying your student loan, you can change repayment plans at any time—for free.
Resolving Disputes – If you and your Loan Servicer disagree about the balance or status of your federal student loan(s), go to StudentAid.ed.gov/ombudsman. This website provides helpful information on first, identifying your loan problem and then, working with your Loan Servicer to resolve. Additional information on contacting the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman is available at the bottom of this web page. The Federal Student Aid Ombudsman is your liaison in assisting with you loan disputes that you have not been able to resolve after you have worked with your Loan Servicer.
Default Resolution - Federal Student Loans and Grants
Myeddebt.ed.gov will provide you with accurate information and assistance to help resolve defaulted federal loans or grants assigned to the Department's Default Resolution Group. The site is intended to be the centralized portal for any information and activities related to defaulted education debt for the U.S. Department of Education.
The following loan and grant programs are included:
- Fedearl Stafford, Federal Consolidation, and Federal PLUS loans (Federal Direct and FEEL). This includes TEACH Grants that have been converted to Direct Unsubsidized Loans.
- Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Academic Competiteness Grants, National SMART Grants, and TEACH Grants. In certain instances, you may have to repay part of a Federal Grant awarded to you.
If your loan is in default or you have a grant overpayment and are not sure what type of loan or grant you have, check your original loan/grant documents or use our National Student Loan Data System. If the loan/grant is not one of the program types listed above and is not assigned to the U.S. Department of Education, the information on this site does not apply to you.
National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) for Students
One of the first things you should do is review your federal loan information at nslds.ed.gov to see your entire loan debt, and who is servicing your loans. The website provides information about each loan, including balances, interest rate, key dates, and loan servicer contact information. You can also update your contact information including address, e-mail, and phone numbers.You will need your FSA ID to access your information. If you need to request a duplicate or new FSA ID, please request one on-line at fsaid.ed.gov
If you should encounter a financial hardship and making payments becomes difficult, contact the lender immediately. By taking early action, the lender or guaranty agency may be able to help you avoid default. Some options available include:
- Deferment (postpone monthly payments)
- Forbearance (reduce or delay payments)
- Forgiveness (eliminates obligation to repay all or part of loan—granted for Public Service at an eligible employer or permanent or total disability or death)
- Change the repayment plan to a Standard Repayment, Income-Based, Income-Contingent or Graduated Repayment
Consolidate multiple loans into a single Direct Consolidation Loan
Helpful federal loan repayment information is available at studentaid.ed.gov/repay. The information there can help you calculate your loan debt, find your loan servicer and provide a review of the different types of loan repayment plans including Income Based and Income Sensitive plans. If you are unable to begin your loan payments, you may need to consider your eligibility for a deferment or a forbearance. You will also want to review the information on Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program that forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer.
Some of the information on types of loan repayment plans at www.studentaid.ed.gov/repay are:
- Standard Plan
- Extended Plan
- Graduated Payment Plan
- Income-Based and Income Driven Plans
- Income-Sensitive Plans
Financial Awareness Tool
Another excellent resource is the U.S. Department of Education's Financial Awareness Counseling at StudentLoans.gov. The Financial Awareness Tool offers five interactive tutorials covering topics ranging from managing a budget to avoiding default. You can access your individual loan history and receive personalized feedback that can help you better understand your financial obligations.
Federal Student Aid Ombudsman
If a student enters repayment and has a problem with her federal loan and other reasonable efforts have failed, we recommend that the student contacts the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman. The Ombudsman office managed by the U.S. Department of Education may be able to:
- Propose solutions to discrepancies in loan balances and payments,
- Clarify interest and collection charges,
- Clarify financial aid requirements,
- Find loan holders,
- Rehabilitate loans by establishing satisfactory repayment plans,
- Reestablish eligibility for Federal Aid,
- Find promissory notes,
- Defer or discharge loans,
- Resolve issues related to income tax refund offsets, default status, consolidations, or bankruptcies,
- Service quality, and any other customer concerns.
Students can contact the U.S. Department of Education's Ombudsman at:
Office of Ombudsman
Student Financial Assistance
Room 3012, ROB #3
7th & D Streets, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202