The U.S. Department of Education offers excellent web sites which provide information you will need regarding repayment of your loans. You will need your FAFSA pin for the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). Links to the pin registration web site are provided at logon.
Consolidation is the process of combining one or more loans into a single new loan. Visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/consolidation for more information about consolidation so you can weigh the pros and cons and decide whether a Direct Consolidation Loan is right for you.
Failure to repay a loan according to the terms agreed to in the promissory note. For most federal student loans, you will default if you have not made a payment in more than 270 days. You may experience serious legal consequences if you default. Visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/default for more information about avoiding and managing default.
Deferment is a postponement of payment on a loan that is allowed under certain conditions and during which interest does not accrue on Direct Subsidized Loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, and Federal Perkins Loans. All other federal student loans that are deferred will continue to accrue interest. Any unpaid interest that accrued during the deferment period may be added to the principal balance (capitalized) of the loan(s). Visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/deferment-forbearance for more information about deferment.
Forbearance is a period during which your monthly loan payments are temporarily suspended or reduced. Your lender may grant you a forbearance if you are willing but unable to make loan payments due to certain types of financial hardships. During forbearance, principal payments are postponed but interest continues to accrue. Unpaid interest that accrues during the forbearance will be added to the principal balance (capitalized) of your loan(s), increasing the total amount you owe. Visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/deferment-forbearance for more information about forbearance.
In certain situations, you can have your federal student loan forgiven, canceled, or discharged. Find out at http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation whether you qualify due to your job, disability, the closure of your school, or other circumstances.
The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education's central database for student aid. Visit www.nslds.ed.gov to view your federal loan history.
Your Loan Servicer is a company that collects payments on a loan, responds to customer service inquiries, and performs other administrative tasks associated with maintaining a loan on behalf of a lender. If you're unsure of who your federal student loan servicer is, you can look it up on www.nslds.ed.gov.
Work with your loan servicer to choose a federal student loan repayment plan that's best for you. To make your payments more affordable, repayment plans can give you more time to repay your loans or be based on your income. Visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans for more information about repayment.
Before you contact your loan servicer to discuss repayment plans, you can use the Department of Education's Repayment Estimator at https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/mobile/repayment/repaymentEstimator.action to get an early look at which plans you may be eligible for and see estimates for how much you would pay monthly and overall.