The U.S. Department of Education offers excellent websites which provide information you will need regarding repayment of your loans. You now need an FSA ID instead of a PIN to log in. To create an FSA ID click here. If you need assistance, call 1-800-557-7394.
Beware of Student Loan Debt Relief Offers and Credit Repair "Deals"
Many of the companies behind these offers have sophisticated marketing tactics to target unsuspecting students, borrowers, parents, military service members, and their families. Visit the link above for a blog prepared by ed.gov or view the following message from Arne Duncan, former Secretary of Education on debt-relief scams.
Consolidation is the process of combining one or more loans into a single new loan. Visit the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid website for more information about consolidation so you can weigh the pros and cons and decide whether a Direct Consolidation Loan is right for you.
Default is 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 the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid website 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).
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 the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid website for more information about deferment and forbearance.
In certain situations, you can have your federal student loan forgiven, canceled or discharged. Find out on the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid website 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 the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid website 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 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.