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Loan Repayment, Rights, and Responsibilities

Federal student loans offer fairly flexible repayment terms, including 10-year fixed repayment, graduated repayment, or income-based repayment for up to 25 years. To find out more about repayment options for Federal Direct Loans, contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243), or visit Direct Loans.

Federal loans offer other benefits. For example, students working in public service or in the military may be eligible for loan forgiveness. Or, if students have special circumstances, such as going back to school, losing a job, getting married, or having a child, they may be able to apply for forbearance or deferment. Check with the servicer for details.

Don't know who your servicer is? Visit the National Student Loan Database and log in with your Federal Student Aid username to view a comprehensive history of your student loan activity.

Private alternative loan repayment terms vary by lender.

Entrance Counseling

All borrowers of federal loans must complete entrance counseling before disbursement. Once complete, a student's file last for ten years. Visit to begin; detailed instructions are available - click here to visit.

Master Promissory Note

If you are a first time borrower of Federal Loans you must complete the Master Promissory Note.  Visit to begin; detailed instructions are available - click here to visit.

Exit Counseling

All borrowers of federal loans must complete exit counseling before repayment begins. Visit to begin; detailed instructions are available - click here to visit.

Sample Repayment Schedule

The average undergraduate student borrows $26,946 in federal student loans at an interest rate of 3.9%. Using these figures, a single person who graduates in 4 years might have the following repayment schedule:

Repayment Plan First Payment Last Payment Total Amount Paid Repayment Period
Standard $272 $272 $32,585 120 months
Graduated $152 $455 $33,979 120 months
Revised Pay as you Earn $308 $441 $31,116 84 months
Income Contingent $232 $238 $28,170 120 months

To calculate an estimated repayment schedule using personalized data, visit

Unable to Pay?

Failure to make regular payments on federal loans can have serious consequences, including negative credit reporting, default, or even wage garnishment. However, federal student loans offer options for borrowers who are unable to pay back their loans on time.

  • Deferment Temporarily suspend payments due to a short term circumstance, such as enrolling in college or the US Military.
  • Forbearance Apply for a pause in your payments after you've begun repayment, usually due to financial hardship.
  • Forgiveness Several loan forgiveness programs are available, including public service loan forgiveness, or discharge due to disability or death. Contact your servicer to find out how to apply (visit National Student Loan Database).



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