When you leave the University of Chicago, you may have a number of questions concerning the repayment of your student loans. Graduate Aid is here to help you avoid confusion concerning the loan repayment process. You are strongly encouraged to proactively take some time to learn about your obligations and familiarize yourself with important loan payment requirements. If you need further guidance regarding loan repayment, you can contact the Graduate Financial Aid Office or your specific loan servicer.
Know Your Loan Servicer
One of your best resources for loan repayment options and questions is your specific loan servicer. A loan servicer assists with processing your loan payments, responds to borrower inquiries, keeps track of principal and interest paid, and manages your repayment options. A servicer is specific to the types of loans that you have borrowed, so it is possible to have more than one servicer. Knowing each of your servicers is an important part of learning about your payment options and starting the loan repayment process.
Each of your loan servicers will provide you with repayment requirements for your loans that will specify both when your first payment is due and the amount of your monthly payments. Please read the repayment information carefully and be sure you understand what is expected.
Starting Loan Repayment
It is important to know when your loan repayment begins and your loan servicer should be in contact with you about that information. In the case of federal student loans, students are not required to begin repayment until after the borrower graduates or drops below half-time enrollment. To stay up-to-date on your payment information, you should identify your loan servicer and be sure they have your current personal contact information in order to ensure you receive all important and timely payment notifications.
Depending on the type of loan some loan programs, including Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, provide a grace period between the time your enrollment falls below half time and the time you have to begin making payments. This grace period allows you time to get established and plan for how you will make payments. For specific information on your potential grace period, you can check your promissory note documentation or contact your loan servicer for more information.
Federal Direct Loan Repayment Options and Flexibilities
Federal Direct Loans offer flexibilities that may be beneficial to borrowers. There are a variety of repayment plans available, including income-based repayment and loan forgiveness programs. Along with flexible repayments, federal loans also offer assistance in the form of deferment and forbearance alternatives.
Federal Student Aid (FSA) provides extensive website information on the above options. In addition, FSA also provides a Loan Simulator Tool that allows students to use their specific loan information to review available options for students looking to make payments or find repayment assistance options.