Student Loan Repayment 101

Unless you plan on being a student the rest of your life, student loan repayment is inevitable, and the ins and outs of student loan repayment can be confusing and overwhelming. The financial advisors at NextStudent, a leading Phoenix-based education funding company, would like to help clear the murky waters by defining terminology and laying out your student loan repayment options.�

Understanding Your Student Loan Repayment Options

A grace period is a pre-determined amount of time allotted to student borrowers after they leave school or drop below half-time enrollment before they must begin repayment of their federal student loans. Grace periods vary in length based on the type of student loan: Stafford loans have a grace period of six months; Perkins loans have a grace period of nine months. PLUS, Grad Plus and Federal Student Loan Consolidation loans have no grace period.

Deferment allows you to temporarily postpone your student loan payments (in most cases, up to a total of three years over the life of the student loan) if you’re unemployed or experiencing economic hardship. You can also request in-school deferments on your federal student loans while you’re enrolled at least half time.

While you’re in a grace period or in deferment, the interest on your Perkins and subsidized Stafford loans will be paid by the government. But you’ll be responsible for the interest on your PLUS, Grad PLUS and unsubsidized Stafford loans—any unpaid interest that accrues on these student loans during grace and deferment periods will be added to your principal loan balance for you to repay once repayment starts or resumes. If you want to avoid interest being added to your principal loan balance while you’re in a grace period or in deferment, you can choose to make interest-only payments during that time.�

Forbearance also allows you to temporarily postpone your student loan payments. When you’re in a forbearance period, you’ll have to pay any interest that accrues, even on Perkins or subsidized Stafford loans.��

Repayment Plans

Perkins, Stafford, PLUS and Grad PLUS loans have a standard repayment period of 10 years. If your standard monthly payment amount is higher than you’d like, you have three other repayment plans you can choose from that may make your monthly payments more affordable:

Extended Repayment is available to you if your federal student loans total more than $30,000 and if you received your first federal student loan on or after October 7, 1998. Depending on your student loan amount, you could extend your repayment period up to a 25-year term.

Graduated Repayment allows you to make lower payments at the beginning of your repayment term and gradually increases your monthly payment amount over time.

Income-Sensitive Repayment bases your monthly payment amount on your monthly income. You have to submit documentation of your income to qualify, and you have to requalify each year.

Student Loan Consolidation

If you’ve taken out any federal student loans, you’re eligible to apply for a Federal Student Loan Consolidation from NextStudent, which might give you more time to repay your student loans and could substantially reduce your monthly student loan payment.

The repayment term on a student loan consolidation will range from 10 to 30 years, depending on your total outstanding student loan amount. Student loan consolidation loans generally have the standard federal deferment and forbearance benefits.

When your student loan consolidation is in deferment, the government will pay the interest on that portion of your student loan consolidation loan that was originally a Perkins loan or subsidized Stafford loan. During deferment, you’ll only be responsible for paying the interest on that portion of your student loan consolidation loan that was originally a PLUS, Grad PLUS or unsubsidized Stafford loan. When your student loan consolidation loan is in forbearance, you’ll be responsible for paying all interest that accrues.

You can consolidate one or more qualifying federal student loans and take advantage of one easy-to-manage loan with a single monthly payment. Our online applications are fast and easy, and there are no fees to apply for a student loan consolidation.

NextStudent believes that getting an education is the best investment you can make, and we’re dedicated to helping you pursue your education dreams by making college funding simple. Learn more about Student Loans, Private Student Loans and Student Loan Consolidation at

By: Jeff Mictabor

Find the student loan that is right for you

There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL