Whether you're interested in attending school, currently working on obtaining a degree, or graduating and starting repayment on your student loans, you have options available regarding student loan debt.
You should have a plan in place for how much you can afford to borrow for school. Refer to the federal repayment estimator tool to determine payment estimates based on different federal loan repayment plans. It is also important for your personal financial health to keep your loans in good standing. If you're having trouble making loan payments, consider contacting your loan holder to talk about your options.
Start Early & Be Ready - Don't delay being proactive if you anticipate encountering any troubles as repayment begins, as there are consequences to not being prepared.
Review your Personal Budget - Review your personal budget to ensure that you will be able to make your necessary monthly payments. You can find resources to help you create, manage, and maintain your budget on studentaid.gov.
Be Patient & Remain Diligent - With millions of borrowers transitioning into repayment at the same time, it is possible that loan servicers may be overwhelmed with a high volume of inquiries. It is possible you may not reach your servicer via phone the first time you call, and you may need to call a few times before getting connected. You may be able to find the information you’re looking for on your own on your loan servicer’s website, or by emailing or using live chat features.
Keep Documentation - Keep good documentation of your financial aid and loan servicer records and communications, such as forms, research, who you spoke to, and detailed notes of what you discussed.
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Federal loans at Missouri S&T are offered through the Direct Loan Program. All required Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Notes for Direct, Parent PLUS and Graduate PLUS Loans have to be completed through Direct Loans. Funds will not be sent to S&T unless all required paperwork is signed.
Standard Repayment - Standard repayment is the most common payment schedule option. Borrowers repay the loan(s) in equal installments a 10-year repayment period. The minimum monthly payment is determined by the amount of the loan and the length of the repayment period. Generally, you will usually pay less over time than under other plans.
Graduated Repayment - Borrowers making graduated payments begin repaying their loans at a lower payment amount. The amount increases every two years until the balance of the loan is repaid over the length of the repayment period. The amount of interest paid over the life of the loan is higher with this option than with standard repayment. (Generally not a qualifying repayment plan for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)).
Extended Repayment - Borrowers who have Direct loans totaling more than $30,000 are eligible for extended repayment. Extended repayment can be a standard or graduated schedule that is set up for a repayment term of up to 25 years instead of the normal 10 years. This can result in a much lower payment amount but will also increase the total amount of interest paid over the life of the loan. (Not a qualifying repayment plan for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)).
Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan (formerly the REPAYE Plan) - Direct Loan borrowers will have a monthly payment equivalent to 10% of their discretionary income. Payments are recalculated each year and are based on your updated income and family size. Any outstanding balance on your loan will be forgiven if you haven't repaid your loan in full after 20 years (if all loans were borrowed as an undergraduate) or 25 years (if any of the loans were taken out for graduate or professional study).
Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE) - For new borrowers on or after Oct. 1, 2007, receiving a disbursement of a Direct Loan on or after Oct. 1, 2011, monthly payments will be 10% of your discretionary income, but never more than you would have paid under the standard repayment plan. Payments are recalculated each year and are based on updated income and family size. This is a good option if you have a high debt relative to your income.
Income-Based (IBR) - Payments under the income-based repayment plan are based on the borrower's income and the total amount of debt. Monthly payments are adjusted each year as the borrower's income changes. Income-based repayment is set up for a repayment term of up to 25 years. At the end of 25 years, any remaining balance on the loan will be discharged. Income-based repayment caps monthly payments at 15% of your monthly discretionary income.
Income-Contingent (ICR) - As a Direct Loan borrower, your monthly payment will be the lesser of 20% of your discretionary income or the amount you would have paid on a repayment plan with a fixed payment over 12 years, adjusted according to your income. Payments are recalculated each year and are based on your updated income, family size, and the total amount of your Direct Loans. If married, your spouse's income or loan debt will be considered if you file a joint tax return or you choose to repay your Direct Loans jointly with your spouse. Any outstanding balance will be forgiven if you haven't repaid your loan in full after 25 years.
Income-Sensitive - With an income-sensitive repayment schedule, the monthly payment amount is adjusted annually to reflect changes in the borrower's income, which is based on total monthly income and student loan debt. This option may be used for a maximum of five years, and then the account will be converted to standard or graduated repayment.
Deferments allow you to temporarily postpone the payment of your loan. Deferments are not automatic; you must apply and be approved by your lender. The most common reasons for deferment include the following:
During periods of deferment on subsidized Stafford Loans, the principal payments are postponed and interest is paid by the federal government. However, you are responsible for interest that accrues on any unsubsidized Stafford Loan. Other deferment options may be available, so contact your loan holder for details and to obtain forms.
If you do not qualify for a deferment, you may be eligible to request forbearance from your lender. Forbearance is the temporary postponement or reduction in your monthly payment. Often the amount of time it takes to repay your loan is extended. Interest continues to accrue during the period, which increases the loan balance. There are several different types of forbearance available depending on your situation. Forbearance must be approved by your lender.
Forbearance can be applied to both past delinquency and future payments, and is applied in up to twelve-month increments. Multiple periods can be used and maximums are specific to your lender. Forbearance can be applied verbally with your lender, or submitted in writing depending on the delinquency of your loan.
Learn more about Loan Consolidation.