4 Things to Do During Your Student Loan Grace Period

Grace 6 month 9 monthYour student loan grace period is a set amount of time after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment before you must begin repayment on your loan. For most student loans, the grace period is six months but in some instances, a grace period could be longer. The grace period gives you time to get financially settled and to select your repayment plan.*

Here are four things you can do during your grace period to prepare for repayment:

1. Get Organized

Start by tracking down all of your student loans. There is a website that allows you to view all your federal student loans in one place.

You can log into www.nslds.ed.gov using your Federal Student Aid PIN to view your loan balances, information about your loan servicer(s), and more.

Note: Don’t forget to check to see if you have private student loans.

2. Contact Your Loan Servicer

loan servicer is a company that handles the billing and other services on your federal student loan. Your loan servicer can help you choose a repayment plan, understand loan consolidation, and complete other tasks related to your federal student loan, so it is important to maintain contact with your loan servicer. If your circumstances change at any time during your repayment period, your loan servicer will be able to help.

To find out who your loan servicer is, visit nslds.ed.gov. You may have more than one loan servicer, so it is important that you look at each loan individually.

3. Estimate Your Monthly Payments Under Different Repayment Plans

Federal Student Aid recently launched a Repayment Estimator that lets you compare your monthly student loan payment under different repayment plans to help you figure out which repayment plan is right for you.

Just go to www.StudentLoans.gov –> Log in –> Click “Repayment Estimator” in bottom left corner. It will pull in all of your federal student loan information automatically so you can compare repayment plans based on your specific situation.

4. Select The Repayment Plan That Works For You

Although you may select or be assigned a repayment plan when you first begin repaying your student loan, you can change repayment plans at any time. Flexible repayment options are one of the greatest benefits of federal student loans. There are options to tie your monthly payments to your income and even ways you can have your loans forgiven if you are a teacher or employed in certain public service jobs. Once you have determined which repayment plan is right for you, you must contact your loan servicer to officially select a new repayment plan.

* Not all federal student loans have a grace period. Note that for many loans, interest will accrue during your grace period.

Nicole Callahan is a new media analyst at the Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.

4 Comments

  1. I made a payment last year and mailed the check to the department of education. This allowed me to bypass the online option where you can make an error that would start your payment plan before your grace period ends. I plan to make another payment by check at the end of the month. I hope this helps

  2. I recently heard that if you make a payment on a Federal loan during your grace period you are automatically put into a payment plan. I would like to put money that I have towards the loan without going into a payment plan until I have too. Can a just make random payments during the grace period and setup a payment plan once the grace period is complete?

    • I have been making interest, sometimes extra, payments on my loans for a few years now. My loan types include: subsidized and unsubsidized federal stafford, direct subsidized and unsubsidized federal, and federal Perkins. I haven’t made any payments on the federal Perkins loans, but have on all others. I am still in my grace period.

      • I have not been working during two master’s degrees, so I am now in debt $105,597!!! My grace will start January 14th, 2014, so I have a year to pay on some of these accounts. On my federal loans I know I can opt for an income-based loan, but what shall I do about my non-government loans, as they say you can only do what you dan do.. I am now in the process of applying for jobs and going through a divorce at the same time, it’s not fun I am trying to keep a stiff upper lip and have been looking at things on the bright side. I fear, however that I will be totally overqualified for most jobs. The job I am interviewing for requires only 60 college hours and I have 162 undergraduate hours, 43 hours for my first master’s with a specialization and 39 credit hours for the degree I just finished. Thank God that I received a full scholarship for my undergraduate hours, which takes some of the load off, but still… any recommendations on how I should proceed from here. I have a good credit rating, and could get a student loan from a bank perhaps. I will be losing my house so I will lose equity, but not have a mortgage payment. Thanks for anyone’s help.

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