Repaying Your Student Loans
If you are borrowing for college, you need to think about the time when you will begin repaying your student loans. You need to be thinking about the following questions:
- How much will I owe?
- Who will I pay?
- How much will my payments be each month?
- When will my payments begin?
- How long will I be making payments?
- Why do I need to pay?
If you fail to repay your student loans and default, it may result in the following:
- Negative credit history
- Wage garnishment
- Collection fees
- Suspension of a professional license
- Withholding of tax refunds and other state and federal monies
- Civil lawsuits
The information on this page is designed to help you plan realistically how you will manage your loan repayment after graduation. The following tools are a good place to start:
Who to Pay
You will pay the lender/servicer that holds your loans. You may have one lender/servicer throughout your academic career. However, there may be situations where lenders/servicers sell, without needing your consent, your student loans to another lender/servicer. The National Student Loan Data System is the primary resource to confirm which lender/servicer holds your loans.
The federal government offers several payment plans for Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS Loan borrowers. These payment plans (e.g., standard, extended or graduated) will determine the amount of your monthly payments, the number of monthly payments and the total amount that you owe—including interest.
Some students may be eligible for special repayment programs based on their income after graduation. Examples of these plans are the Income-Based, Income-Contingent and Income-Sensitive plans. For more information about the federal student loan payment options, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Direct Loan Repayment Plans page.
Estimating Your Payments
To estimate your student loan payments, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Repayment Estimator tool. This site uses real-time data about your student loans to best assist you. Sign in with your FSA ID and password to access your data and obtain an early view of the plans for which you may be eligible. You can then compare each plan’s monthly payment amount. You may also visit the Department of Education’s website for links to a variety of other repayment calculators to help you decide on a plan. For these calculators, you will need the cumulative amount of your federal loans, which you can obtain by logging into the National Student Loan Data System with your FSA ID and password.
Note: The repayment of your federal Direct Loans begins six months after you graduate, withdraw from classes or drop below half-time enrollment. Federal student loan borrowers meeting one of these criteria must complete online exit counseling.
Typical Repayment Schedules for Graduates
Students receiving a bachelor’s degree at Texas State University who borrow through the federal student loan program have an average student loan indebtedness of $26,031. The below table indicates what the repayments will look like in terms of monthly payment amount, number of payment months and total amount paid—including interest.
Direct Loan Forgiveness and Forbearance
Students who are working full time in public service jobs may qualify for the forgiveness of the balance due on their eligible federal student loans after making 120 monthly payments under certain repayment plans. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness page.
If you are having trouble making your loan payments, you might qualify for a deferment, forbearance or other form of payment relief. For more details, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Postponing Repayment page.
Federal Consolidation Loans
Federal loan borrowers can combine different types of federal loans with various repayment schedules into a Direct Consolidation Loan with one single monthly payment. For more information about this option, visit the Loan Consolidation page.