Repayment for a Stafford student loan begins six months after you graduate, drop below half-time enrollment, or withdraw from school. Making timely payments will help you establish a good credit history and demonstrate to other creditors that you are a responsible borrower, a quality that can benefit you for many years into the future. You will generally have up to ten years to repay a Stafford student loan, and various repayment and postponement options are available if you meet certain requirements.
Keep good financial records. Get organized and keep all your student loan documents together - before and after graduation.
As long as your servicer has your current contact information, you will receive periodic updates detailing your outstanding balance, payment due dates, etc. Most servicers make your account information available online 24/7.
Determine how much you can afford to pay each month. If you've already been hired for your first job, you already know your starting salary. If you're still job-hunting, check with the placement office at your school about salary ranges in your chosen field. It's a good rule of thumb to keep student loan payments at 8-10% of your monthly income or less. If your payment exceeds the recommended payment range for your annual income, consider applying for a lower payment.
Staying in Touch
Address change? New phone number? Newly married? Transferred to a different school? Your servicer needs to know. And it's your responsibility to keep your servicer in the loop. Contact us to make sure we have your most current information.
Two of our most popular student loan repayment options are auto-debit, which automatically withdraws payments from your designated bank account each month, and online payment, which allows you to pay online at your convenience.
If you have multiple student loans, you may consider a Direct Consolidation Loan to combine the loans into one loan and have one single monthly payment. There are pros and cons of consolidation to be considered. Learn more to decide whether a consolidation loan is right for you or apply directly at studentloans.gov.
Repaying Parent PLUS and GradPLUS Loans
A Parent PLUS Loan is made directly to the parent, not the student, so responsibility for repayment rests with the parent. Repayment begins within 60 days of the final loan disbursement, unless you choose to postpone repayment while the student is in school at least half-time.
PLUS Loans made to graduate and professional student borrowers (GradPLUS) may be deferred during the six-month period that begins the day after the end date of a deferment during which the borrower was enrolled at least half time. Interest will continue to accrue on the loan during these periods.