Loan Repayment




Students may visit The National Student Loan Data System and the Federal Student Aid Student Loan's website for an overview of their outstanding federal loans.  Students must complete Exit Counseling at once they drop below half-time for any reason.  Students need to visit the NSLDS site to see who their assigned loan servicer(s) is and for their contact information.



When am I required to repay my federal loans?

Federal Direct Loans:


There are three time periods associated with Federal Direct Loans (Direct Loans): In-School Deferment, Grace Period, and Repayment.


In-School Deferment (Payments are NOT required):

While a student is enrolled at least half-time, Direct Loans are in an In-School Deferment status.  This means students are not required to make payments on these loans during this time.  Half-time enrollment at UAFS for undergraduate students is a minimum of 6 credit hours and for graduate students is a minimum of 5 credit hours.


Grace Period (Payments are NOT required):

Once a student drops below half-time enrollment for any reason (less than 5-6 credit hours, fully withdrawing, degree completion, etc.) the outstanding Direct Loans will enter a Grace Period.  The Grace Period is 6 months.  If the student were to re-enroll at least half-time before the end of the Grace Period, that student’s federal loans may re-enter In-School Deferment; however, if the student does not re-enroll at least half-time, that student’s federal loans will enter Repayment.  Once a student enters Repayment, that student no longer has a Grace Period, even if they re-enroll at least half-time later.


Repayment (Payments ARE REQUIRED):

Once a student has exhausted their Grace Period, that student is required to begin making payments on a monthly basis for any federal loans that student has outstanding.


Federal PLUS Loans:


Federal PLUS Loans enter Repayment 60 days after the last disbursement of that PLUS Loan

UNLESS the borrower requests an In-School Deferment.  This is an option on the PLUS application.  The PLUS borrower may also request a Grace Period.  This will appear as an option on the PLUS application if the borrower chooses an In-School Deferment.  If the PLUS borrower chooses the In-School Deferment and the Grace Period options on the PLUS application, repayment for the PLUS Loan will operate just as the Federal Direct Loans (see above).


What are my Repayment options?



The U.S. Department of Education provides many options for loan repayment for any federal loan.  For a full list of repayment plans, please click here.


Some common repayment plans include: Standard Repayment Plan, Graduated Repayment Plan, Extended Repayment Plan, and several plans based on qualifying or low income.  Below is a quick comparison chart of just four of these common repayment plans.


Repayment Plan

Eligible Loans

Monthly Payment and

Time Frame

Quick Comparison

Standard Repayment Plan

  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • all PLUS loans

Payments are a fixed amount of at least $50 per month.

Up to 10 years

You'll pay less interest for your loan over time under this plan than you would under other plans.

Graduated Repayment Plan

  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • all PLUS loans

Payments are lower at first and then increase, usually every two years.

Up to 10 years

You'll pay more for your loan over time than under the 10-year standard plan.

Extended Repayment Plan

  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • all PLUS loans

Payments may be fixed or graduated.

Up to 25 years

  • Your monthly payments would be lower than the 10-year standard plan.
  • If you are a
    • Direct Loan borrower, you must have more than $30,000 in outstanding Direct Loans.
    • FFEL borrower, you must have more than $30,000 in outstanding FFEL Program loans.

For example, if you have $35,000 in outstanding FFEL Program loans, and $10,000 in Direct Loans, you can use the extended repayment plan for your FFEL Program loans, but not for your Direct Loans.

  • For both programs, you must also be a "new borrower" as of Oct. 7, 1998.
  • You'll pay more for your loan over time than under the 10-year standard plan.

Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR)

  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • all PLUS loans made to students
  • Consolidation Loans (Direct or FFEL) that do not include Direct or FFEL PLUS loans made to parents
  • Your maximum monthly payments will be 15 percent of discretionary income, the difference between your adjusted gross income and 150 percent of the poverty guideline for your family size and state of residence (other conditions apply).
  • Your payments change as your income changes.

Up to 25 years

  • You must have a partial financial hardship.
  • Your monthly payments will be lower than payments under the 10-year standard plan.
  • You'll pay more for your loan over time than you would under the 10-year standard plan.
  • If you have not repaid your loan in full after making the equivalent of 25 years of qualifying monthly payments, any outstanding balance on your loan will be forgiven.
  • You may have to pay income tax on any amount that is forgiven.


You may also consider consolidating your federal loans, if you have loans with more than one loan servicer or any outstanding FFEL Loans (disbursed prior to July 1, 2010).  For more information and to apply for a loan consolidation, visit Student Loans website



What is Default?


A student defaults on a federal student loan when they have not made any satisfactory payments for 270 days (about 9 months).  Most students default because they are unaware of their options or they have not kept their information up-to-date with their Federal Loan Servicer, so they miss important information.  If a student defaults, that student is no longer eligible for federal student aid AND the U.S. Department of Education can garnish your wages, federal/state tax refund, or other federal benefits such as social security.


How can I avoid defaulting on my federal loans?


Stay in contact with your Federal Loan Servicer.  You can find your loan servicer by visiting the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).  As long as you are staying in contact with your loan servicer and keeping them updated about your situation, they will be more able to assist you through the repayment process and give you options such as forbearance, forgiveness, or even cancellation.


What if I can’t afford my federal loan 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.” 


What tools are available to help students make sound financial decisions?

Please visit CashCourse: Your Real-Life Money Guide.