Here's a guide to repaying your federal student loans.
Understanding how to repay your federal student loans can save you a lot of time and money. We’re here to help you manage repayment and answer any questions you have along the way.
Federal Student Loans: Repaying Your Loans
Finding the Right Repayment Plan for You
There are several repayment plans available, providing the flexibility you need. Here are some things you should know:
- You’ll be asked to choose a plan. If you don’t choose one, you will be placed on the Standard Repayment Plan, which will have your loans paid off in 10 years.
- You can switch to a different plan at any time to suit your needs and goals.
- Your monthly payment can be based on how much you make. Learn about our income-driven repayment plans.
The Repayment Estimator can help you figure out which repayment plan is best for you.
Log in, and we’ll pull in relevant information such as your loan amounts, loan types, and interest rates. Just enter some additional information, such as your income and family size, and your results will show what your payments would be under each repayment plan.
How to Make a Payment
Your loan servicer handles all billing regarding your student loan, so you’ll need to make payments directly to your servicer. Each servicer has its own payment process and can work with you if you need help making payments.
Not sure who your loan servicer is?
Know who your loan servicer is?
If you don’t know who your servicer is…
Visit their site to make a payment.
Never miss a payment. Got a Direct Loan? Sign up for automatic debit through your loan servicer, and your payments will be automatically taken from your bank account. Bonus: you get a 0.25% interest rate deduction when you enroll!
What to Do If You Can’t Afford Your Payments
If you’re having trouble making payments, don’t ignore your loans. We offer several options that can help keep your loans in good standing, even if your finances are tight.
3 Ways You Can Keep on Track With Loan Payments
- Change your payment due date. Do you get paid after your student loan payment is due each month? If so, contact your loan servicer and ask whether you’d be able to switch the date your student loan payment is due.
- Change your repayment plan. What you ultimately pay depends on the plan you choose and when you borrowed. If you need lower monthly payments, consider an income-driven repayment plan that’ll base your monthly payment amount on how much you make.
- Consolidate your loans. If you have multiple student loans, simplify the repayment process with a Direct Consolidation Loan—allowing you to combine all your federal student loans into one loan for one monthly payment.
If the options above don’t work for you and you simply can’t make any payments right now, you might be eligible to postpone your payments through a deferment or forbearance. However, depending on the type of loan you have, interest may still accrue (accumulate) on your loan during the time you’re not making payments.
“How to Manage Your Student Loans” Video
Check out this video to learn more about changing repayment plans, postponing or reducing your payments, or combining your federal student loans. (Captioning available in English and Spanish; just start the video and click on the CC symbol at the bottom.)
Beware: Private companies may contact you with offers to help you with your student loans for a fee. Remember, you never have to pay for help with your student loans. The U.S. Department of Education and our loan servicers will help you for free. Learn more about avoiding paying for help with your student loans.
Student Loan Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge
There are some circumstances that may result in your no longer having to repay your federal student loan. For instance, some or all of your loan could be forgiven in exchange for your performing certain types of service such as teaching or public service. Or the obligation to make further payments on your loan might be discharged based on specific factors such as your school closing or your becoming totally and permanently disabled. Take a look at all the possibilities: Find out what circumstances qualify your loans for forgiveness, cancellation, or discharge.
Two types of forgiveness that a lot of borrowers ask us about: