If you’re getting ready to graduate, that means it’s time to start thinking about repaying your students loans. Knowledge is power when it comes to repayment; knowing what to expect and staying on top of your loan payments can help you fulfill your financial goals.
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How much do I owe?
To keep track of how much you have borrowed in Federal student loans, go to The National Student Loan Data System, the U.S. Department of Education’s central database for student aid. Note: You will need your FAFSA pin number to access this site. Note: If you’ve taken out private loans, you’ll need to contact your lender(s) to find out the total amount you’ve borrowed.
Calculating monthly payments
Don’t forget to factor your loan repayments into your after-graduation living expenses. Think of your loan payments as a fixed cost, such as rent, utilities or car payment that you will need to include in your budget.
Use this student loan online calculator to help you determine what your monthly payments might be.
How do I know which repayment plan is best for me?
The Federal Government offers six different plans for loan repayment: standard, extended, graduated, income contingent, income based, income sensitive, and pay as your earn. To find out which plan will work best for you, click here.
Take a breath and relax -- you do have some time to adjust to the real world.
After borrowers graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, loans that were made for that period of study have several months before payments are due. This period is called the "grace period." Grace periods extend between 6 and 12 months after borrowers leave school.
A few facts about grace periods:
And finally… Make sure to repay your loans on time
Keep in the habit of repaying your loans on time and avoid default. Doing so will help you establish good credit. Good credit is important when looking for a job, renting an apartment or buying your first car. Good credit can also lead to lower interest rates and creates more options for you in the future.
Last Updated: 6/26/13