Financial Well-Being

As a college student it is important to be well informed before making crucial decisions such as accepting a loan. There are many components that need to be taken into consideration. We have provided important information for you to think about before accepting or taking out a loan.


How Much Funding Do I Actually Need?

  • • Are you able to pay anything out of pocket? Keep in mind that any loan funding you take will eventually have interest added to the principal amount.
  • • Understand your cost of attendance (COA)

The Type of Loan

  • • Federal
    • ○ A government loan with a fixed-interest rate and offered income-driven repayment plans.
    • ○ Payments are due to start 6 months post-graduation or if you leave school, or change enrollment to less than half-time.
    • ○ Current 2022-2023 Academic Year Federal Loans have fixed variable interest rates based on education level and type of loan and are listed below:

Loan chart listing interest rates for direct unsubsidized loans undergraduate 4.99% fixed interest rate, direct subsidized loans undergraduate 4.99% fixed, direct unsubsidized loans graduate or professional 6.54% fixed interest rate, direct plus loans parent or graduate students 7.54% fixed interest rate

  • • Private
    • ○ Borrowed through private organizations (Sallie Mae, Discover, Wells Fargo etc.) with interest rates that have variable or fixed rates.
    • ○ Repayment of loan may be required while you are still school.
    • ○ Typically more expensive than federal student loans.
    • ○ Visit ELMSelect for more information on private loans and lenders
  • • To learn more about the key differences between loans click here.

Student Loan Repayment

All your hard work has paid off! Now it's  time to pay back your loans. You must ask yourself:

WHO do I have to make the payment to? Well it first depends on what type of loan you borrowed.

Federal Student Loans

If you borrowed a federal student loan you will be making payments to a loan servicer. A loan servicer is company that handles the billing and other services on your loan. The loan servicer will work with you on repayment plans and loan consolidation and will assist you with other tasks related to your federal student loan. It is important to maintain contact with your loan servicer. If your circumstances change at any time during your repayment period, your loan servicer will be able to help.

Federal Loan Servicers include:

  • 1. Nelnet
  • 2. Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc.
  • 3. Aidvantage
  • 4. FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA)
  • 5. MOHELA
  • 6. HESC/EdFinancial
  • 7. OSLA Servicing
  • 8. Navient
  • 9. Debt Management and Collections System

Contact information can be found HERE.

Private Loans

Similarly you will have to repay your student loan to a lender or servicer. Information on how, when, and who to pay back varies. Servicer information may be found on your original loan paperwork or checking your credit report may provide information on who to contact to locate your servicer (cfbp, 2021).

When am I Required to Start Paying Back My Student Loans?

  • Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans for all students (undergraduate/graduate) have a 6-month grace period. This means that your payments will begin 6 months after you graduate, separate from the university or fall below half-time status for enrollment.
  • Repayment Plans
    • There are types of repayment plans to choose from. Your servicer may assign you one initially however you are able to change and choose which plan best suits you.
    • Learn more about the different repayment plans here.

*** Federal Perkins Loan borrowers have a 9 month grace period after your graduate or leave school. Perkins loans are paid back to the university (the university is your loan servicer and often works with a partner called ECSI). *This program has been discontinued by the Department of Education. The last awards were offered at the start of the 2017-2018 academic year.

Presentation VIDEO: Student Loan Repayments

  • This presentation occurred during Money Smart Day in April 2022 and  focused primarily on federal direct student loan repayments, while also briefly discussed private loans and Perkins loans. In addition, all loan forgiveness options were discussed (not including Biden's new debt relief plan at the time) as well as Public Service Loan Forgiveness and how to set up an income driven repayment plan. We also discussed how COVID-19 has impacted student loan repayments currently and in the future.


Defaulting on Student Loans

Defaulting on student loans can have a serious and negative impact on your credit and ability for future borrowing. This may occur when you continue to miss student loan payments, the loan becomes past due or delinquent.

For a loan made under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program or the Federal Family Education Loan Program, you are considered to be in default if you do not make your scheduled student loan payments for at least 270 days (about nine months).

For a loan made under the Federal Perkins Loan Program, the holder of the loan may declare the loan to be in default if you do not make any scheduled payment by the due date.

Consequences of default can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • • The entire unpaid balance of your loan and any interest you owe becomes due immediately.
  • • You can no longer receive deferment or forbearance, and you lose eligibility for other benefits (ability to choose a repayment plan, etc.)
  • • You lose eligibility for additional federal student aid.
  • • Your default will be reported to credit bureaus, damaging your credit rating.
  • • Your tax refunds or federal benefits can be withheld and applied towards the balance and/or your wages can be garnished.
  • • Your loan holder can take you to court.

(Federal Student Aid)

What Can I Do If I am in Default?

• Pay your loan balance in full, including any interest or fees.

• Loan Rehabilitation

• Loan Consolidation

• To learn more about what each of these processes entails and to compare options click HERE.

In addition, contact your loan servicer to discuss any of these options.


Federal Student Loan Forgiveness

There are various types of forgiveness, discharge or cancellation for loans that you may qualify for due to your job or certain circumstances which include:

  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness
    • ○ Learn how to apply and get started here!
  • • Teacher Loan Forgiveness
  • • Closed School Discharge
  • • Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge
  • • Total and Permanent Disability Discharge
  • • Discharge Due to Death
  • • Discharge in Bankruptcy (rare)
  • • Borrower Defense to Repayment
  • • False Certification Discharge
  • • Unpaid Refund Discharge
  • • Forgery Discharge
  • • Eligibility for Parent Borrowers

Visit Federal Student Aid to read more on each forgiveness, cancellation and discharge listed above.

NEW Biden-Harris Administration's Student Debt Relief Plan 2022

  • Newly announced three-part plan about a one-time student loan cancellation to be granted based on income.
  • Applications are now being accepted until December 31, 2023. APPLY NOW.
  • To learn more about the most up to date details and see an overview of this plan please visit Federal Student Aid.

Beware of scams

You might be contacted by a company saying they will help you get loan discharge, forgiveness, cancellation, or debt relief for a fee. You never have to pay for help with your federal student aid. Make sure you work only with the U.S. Department of Education and our loan servicers, and never reveal your personal information or account password to anyone.

Our emails to borrowers come from,, or You can report scam attempts to the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-382-4357 or by visiting

Questions? Want to Meet with a Financial Well-Being Specialist?
Contact Us

For one-on-one consultations, fill out our Request Support form. You can also email us at

Students seeking SSAC resources or services outside Financial Well-Being can fill out the Request Support form to schedule a meeting with an SSAC specialist. Alternatively, students can email or call (703) 993-3686.