Strategies for Resolving Delinquency and Default on Your Student Loans

Top 7 Student Loan Tips for Recent Graduates

  1. Know what you owe. Monitor every detail about your Federal Stafford loans by going to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). Keep records of your total loan amounts, the amount of your total monthly payments and know when your grace periods end.
  2. Stay in touch with your lender. Keep in touch with your lenders and don’t stop making your monthly payments without first discussing your situation with your lender. If you find you are unable to make payments due to unemployment, economic hardship, health problems, or other personal situations consult with your lender to find out what options are available to you. Federal student loan repayments can be temporarily postponed through deferment and forbearance. Failing to pay your student loans can have severe consequences that can last throughout your lifetime. Not paying your student loans could affect you credit rating and your ability to borrow money for other purposes, such as purchasing a car or a home.
  3. Pick the right repayment option for you. Review your federal student loan repayment options.
  4. Research consolidating your federal student loans. Consolidation allows a borrower to combine multiple federal student loans into one loan and one monthly payment. Most federal student loans are eligible for consolidation including subsidized and unsubsidized Direct and FFEL Stafford loans, Graduate PLUS loans, and Perkins loans. Consider the impact of losing any borrower benefits offered under repayment for the original loans. Learn more about Federal Direct Consolidation.
  5. Make additional payments toward the principal loan balance, if you are in a position to do so. Paying a small amount additional each month to be applied to the principal balance will significantly reduce the total amount of interest that you pay. You must include a written request that you want the additional amount applied to the principal loan balance, otherwise your lender will apply it to a future payment.
  6. Consider the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Public Service Loan Forgiveness was created as an incentive to graduates to encourage them to enter into public service jobs. After you have made 120 payments on loans under certain repayment plans while employed as a public servant, you may qualify to have your remaining loan balance forgiven. Learn more about Loan Forgiveness.