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6 month grace period student loans

Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

The 6 month grace period or deferment period comes into effect once you’ve started repayment on your student loan. You’re in a grace period when your salary under the Student loan repayment provisions doesn’t exceed a certain monthly threshold which is either £244 or £300 depending on your total amount of student loan debt. During this time, you are not required to make any payments on your student loan. The 6 month grace period is offered as a reflection of the fact that it can take students a while to settle into their first regular job and begin earning within the threshold almost immediately.

Here's Exactly How Student Loan Interest Works - Financial Avenue

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Student loans can be a significant part of most students’ budget. After all, how are you going to get by otherwise? But sometimes, things happen. A parent loses their job, or an offering is so much more tempting than your original college plan. If you’ve just started taking out student loans and believe something may be wrong with them, this article will enlighten you as to what you need to do next.

6 month grace period student loans

What is the 6 month grace period on student loans?

The six-month student loan grace period is a time frame between when you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment and the time you have to start making payments on your federal student loans. During this period, you are not required to make any payments on your loans. The six-month grace period begins as soon as your enrollment status drops below half-time or you graduate.

How do I know if my loans are in a grace period?

If you qualify for a grace period, it will begin automatically. You’ll receive a notice from the Department of Education confirming that your grace period has started. The notice includes information about how long your grace period lasts and what interest rates apply to each of your loans during the grace period. You can also check your account at StudentLoans.gov or contact the loan servicer for each of your loans to determine whether and when your loans entered repayment.

Graduated? Congratulations! Your next step is to pay off those loans.

That’s right, it’s time to start paying back your student loans. Many student loan providers offer a 6-month grace period after you graduate or stop being enrolled in school at least half-time. If you received federal loans, your grace period is 6 months long. If you received private loans, the length of your grace period may vary between lenders.

You can use this time to figure out what kind of repayment plan works best for you and make sure everything is set up so that payments come out of your account on time once the grace period ends. You can get started by checking out all the options and tools available.

Should I refinance to my federal student loans into a private loan?

As a federal student loan borrower, you have certain rights that are not typically available with private loans. While refinancing your federal student loans into a private student loan can sometimes lower your interest rate, your private student loan will not necessarily have the same terms and conditions as your federal student loan.

You should carefully review the terms of a private student loan before you give up the benefits available on federal student loans. The following are some examples of benefits that you may lose if you refinance your federal student loan into a private student loan:

  • Access to temporary loan payment relief through approved periods (deferment or forbearance) when you do not have to make payments because of financial hardship, continuing your education, or military service
  • No interest accumulation on subsidized student loans during periods when payments are deferred
  • Access to repayment plans based on your income that provide loan forgiveness once you have been in repayment for 20 or 25 years
  • Access to various forms of loan forgiveness and discharge, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness, teacher loan forgiveness, total and permanent disability discharge, and borrower defense to repayment discharge

When You Must Begin Payments

Once you graduate, drop below half-time enrollment, or leave school, your federal student loan goes into repayment. However, if you have a Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, or Federal Family Education Loan, you have a six-month grace period before you are required to start making regular payments. You’ll have a nine-month grace period if you’ve got a Perkins Loan. (Got a PLUS loan? You’ll go into repayment as soon as the loan is fully disbursed—which means once it’s paid out. But if you’re a graduate and professional student PLUS borrower, you will be placed on an automatic deferment while in school and for six months after graduating, leaving school, or dropping below half-time enrollment.)

Note: When your loan enters repayment, your servicer will automatically place you on the Standard Repayment Plan. You can request a different repayment plan at any time.

You can make prepayments on your loan while you are in school or during your grace period. Be aware, however, that any prepayment you make will not count as a qualifying payment in any loan forgiveness programs.

Your loan servicer will provide you with a loan repayment schedule that states when your first payment is due, the number and frequency of payments, and the amount of each payment.

Your billing statement will tell you how much to pay. Your monthly payment amount depends on your repayment plan. If you signed up for electronic communication, pay attention to your email. Most loan servicers send an email when your billing statement is ready for you to access online.

The Grace Period

For most federal student loan types, after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you have a six-month grace period (sometimes nine months for Perkins Loans) before you must begin making payments. This grace period gives you time to get financially settled and to select your repayment plan. Not all federal student loans have a grace period. Note that for most loans, interest accrues during your grace period. You can choose to pay the interest that accrues during your grace period. This prevents that interest from being added to the principal balance (also known as interest capitalization).

Loans and Their Grace Periods

Review this list to find out whether your loan has a grace period.

  • Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans have a six-month grace period before payments are due.
  • PLUS loans do not have a grace period; but if you received a PLUS loan as a graduate or professional student, you’ll automatically get a six-month deferment after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment. No payments are required during this six-month deferment period. If you’re a parent borrower who took out a PLUS loan to pay for your child’s education, you can request a six-month deferment after your child graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment. Contact your loan servicer for more information.
  • If you received a Federal Perkins Loan, check with the school where you received your loan.

Circumstances That May Affect Your Grace Period

Certain situations that may affect your grace period include the following:

  • Active duty military—If you are called to active military duty for more than 30 days before the end of your grace period, you will receive the full six-month grace period when you return from active duty.
  • Returning to school before the end of your loan’s grace period—If you reenroll in school at least half-time before the end of your grace period, you will receive the full six-month grace period when you stop attending school or drop below half-time enrollment.
  • Loan consolidation—If you consolidate your loans during your grace period, you give up the remainder of your grace period and begin repayment after your Direct Consolidation Loan is processed (unless you request to have the processing of your consolidation loan delayed until closer to the end of your grace period).

Making Payments

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) uses several loan servicers to handle the billing and other services on loans for the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program and for loans that were made under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and that ED later purchased. Your loan servicer will set you up under the Standard Repayment Plan unless you tell your loan servicer you want a different repayment plan.

Type of LoanSend Payments ToWhen to Send Payments
Direct Loans and FFEL loans owned by EDYour loan servicerCheck with your loan servicer.
FFEL loans not owned by EDThe bank, credit union, or other lending institution that made the loan (also known as the lender)Check with your lender.
Federal Perkins LoansYour school or the billing agency your school designatesCheck with your school.

If you schedule an automatic monthly electronic debit of your loan payment from your checking or savings account, you receive a 0.25% interest rate deduction on Direct Loans. Contact your loan servicer for more information. To make a payment by postal mail, contact your loan servicer for the mailing address.

To discuss repayment plan options or change your repayment plan, contact your loan servicer. First, though, you can use our Loan Simulator to get an early look at which plans you may be eligible for and see estimates for how much you would pay monthly and overall.

I want to get ahead by paying extra each month.

You can make payments before they are due or pay more than the amount due each month. Paying a little extra each month can reduce the interest you pay and reduce the total cost of your loan over time. Contact your loan servicer to discuss these options.

I’m having trouble making my loan payment.

Contact your loan servicer as soon as possible. You may be able to change your repayment plan to one that lowers your monthly payment and, in some cases, may be based on your income. You can also ask your loan servicer about your options for a deferment or forbearance or loan consolidation.

Try this Resource

Trouble Making Your Federal Student Loan Payments? provides information on what to do if you are having difficulty making your student loan payments.

I’ve missed one or more loan payments.

Stay in touch with your loan servicer—especially if you are struggling to make payments on your loans. Your loan servicer will explain your repayment options, such as applying for an income-driven repayment plan or a forbearance or deferment, to help you stay on track or get back on track when you fall behind.

One thing you definitely want to avoid is going into default! This occurs when you are at least nine months past due on your student loan. The consequences of default include damage to your credit rating and future borrowing ability. They may also include garnishment of your wages and withholding of your tax refunds. If you can’t make payments, contact your loan servicer to find out your options.

Having Your Student Loan Forgiven

You are generally required to repay your student loan, but in certain situations, your loan may be forgiven, canceled, or discharged.

Based on recent reports and analysis, it is clear that we are facing an issue related to student debt. Many students are in default or delinquency with their student loans, whether it is private or government subsidized loans. The concern of the U.S. Department of Education is not one of just dollars and cents, but one of the millions of people impacted by this current situation. Millions of people are struggling to keep up with their student loan payments, and find themselves in financial hardship as a result. The greatest concern for the Department of Education is that student loan defaults have a ripple effect: when students fall behind, it hurts not only them, but also the broader economy.

Students seem to be informed from the time they are in high school about both the importance of obtaining a college degree and also about how much these degrees can cost them. Before taking out student loans, it is important to understand what you are signing up for and that you take advantage of any possible grace periods you are eligible for.

grace period student loans covid

How to Get Student Loan Relief During COVID-19 and Beyond

The feds, states and even private lenders are offering relief for student loan borrowers.

How to Get Student Loan Relief Now

Lost wages due to the coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, may affect your ability to manage and repay student loans. The federal government, private lenders and others are offering student loan relief to help you manage the economic fallout.

Here are the current options you have for student loan relief. As new programs are introduced, this page will be updated with additional information.

Find the latest

  • Ready for repayment? Forbearance ends Aug. 31
  • Do you have a new servicer? Student loan servicer changes
  • Will PSLF work for you now? Key forgiveness updates
  • Keep your guard up: How to spot a student loan scam

Federal student loan relief

The federal government is offering options for borrowers who need help with their student loans. The following measures last through Aug. 31, 2022.

  • Automatic forbearance to most federal loan borrowers.
  • Automatically waiving interest on federally held student loans.
  • All collections activities through the Treasury offset program on federal student loans in default are suspended, which includes the withholding of 2021 tax refunds, the child tax credit or Social Security benefits.

Here’s more information about these programs, as well as existing repayment options student loan borrowers can take advantage of for payment relief.

Payment postponements

Borrowers with federally held student loans automatically receive a forbearance through Aug. 31, 2022. No payments will be due during this break. Additionally, no interest will accrue, which is typically not the case with forbearance.

All auto-debit payments will be automatically suspended.

This forbearance is automatic, but you can still make payments of any amount if you want to reduce your balance. About 500,000 borrowers (or 1.16% of all 42.9 million federal borrowers) continued making payments during the pause, according to the most recent federal data.

Or use the pause to prioritize other money moves, such as starting an emergency fund or paying down high-interest debt, since your student loan balance won’t increase during this break.

Due to the forbearance, your repayment term may be extended so your final payment date will be eighteen months later than you originally thought.

Here are other scenarios the forbearance might affect:

You’re a recent graduate

If you’re entering repayment for the first time, there may be some overlap with your grace period. That means if you were supposed to start making payments during the forbearance period, your first payment won’t be due until Sept. 1, 2022. Usually interest on unsubsidized direct loans continues to build during the grace period, but if your grace period overlaps with the administrative forbearance, interest will not accrue during those months.

You can use this time to find out who your servicer is, what your first bill will look like and how to apply for income-driven repayment if you can’t meet your payment.Need-to-Knows for 2021 College GradsCheck out NerdWallet and Inceptia’s guide to navigating money and careers after college.DOWNLOAD FOR FREE

You already had a forbearance in place

This administrative forbearance supersedes all other deferments or forbearances. If your prior forbearance or deferment’s original end date was after Aug. 31, 2022, it will be reinstated beginning Sept. 1, 2022.

You’re taking time off from school

If you have federal student loans and leave school for any reason, you typically have six months before you must start repaying the debt. For example, if you last attended school in the spring and plan to take the fall semester off, your payments would normally come due in the fall. But the extended forbearance delays your first payment until February.

Whenever you start back up again at college (attending at least half-time) you can defer payments until you finish school or leave again. But since you already used up your grace period, when  you graduate or leave again your loans would be due right away.Learn more about payment postponements

Interest waiver

The interest rate on most federal student loans is set to 0% through Aug. 31, 2022. During this time, no new interest will accrue on federally held student loans.

If you repay loans during this period, your entire payment will go toward your principal balance, provided you have no other outstanding interest or fees on the loans. This will save you money overall, though your actual payment amount won’t change.

Collection activities

The federal government has ceased all collection activities on federal student loans through Aug. 31, 2022. These activities include wage and Social Security garnishment, tax refund seizure and collection calls and letters.

This policy is retroactive to March 13, 2020, meaning you’ll receive a refund for any forced student loan payments since that date. But if your 2019 refund was seized before March 13, 2020 it is not required to be returned.

Federal loans with delinquent payments or defaulted loans will return to “good standing” status when payments start again on Sept. 1, 2022.

Stimulus checks won’t be taken retroactively due to defaulted student loans.

As of March 30, 2021, collection activities and interest is halted for commercially owned FFEL debt in default — approximately 1.14 million borrowers, according to the education department. The relief is retroactive to March 13, 2020 so borrowers whose tax refunds were seized or wages garnished since then will receive those funds back and their loans will return to good standing.

Disability Discharge Earnings Documentation Suspension

Borrowers who receive loan forgiveness through Total and Permanent Disability Discharge usually are required to submit annual earnings documentation for the following three years. Loans can be reinstated If their earnings exceed state poverty guidelines for a family of two during that time, or, more commonly, if borrowers fail to provide earnings documentation at all.

On March 29, 2021, due to the COVID-19 emergency, the education department suspended its requirement to submit annual earnings documentation retroactive to March 13, 2020. The change is intended to prevent borrowers whose loans were discharged due to Total and Permanent Disability from having their loans reinstated during the pandemic.

Alternate repayment plans

Federal student loan borrowers can choose from a number of different repayment options. If you’ll be unable to afford your student loan payments in the long term, enrolling in an income-driven repayment plan is typically your best option.

These plans base your monthly bills on your current income and family size. Payments can be as little as $0.

If you already use an income-driven plan and your financial situation has changed, you can request a new payment amount. If you were supposed to recertify your plan before Aug. 31, 2022, you’ll now have an additional time to do so. IDR recertification dates have been extended until at least March 2023. Borrowers will be notified when it is time to recertify.

You should still use the time during the government’s payment suspension to complete your enrollment paperwork or provide updated financial information. That way, your new payment will hopefully be in place once your forbearance ends.

Temporarily, borrowers with direct loans can self-report their income when applying for or recertifying an IDR plan. That means you own’t have to submit tax documentation, but you will need to select “I’ll report my own income information” in Step 2 (Income Information) of the IDR application. This option ends Feb. 28, 2023.

» MORE: Student loan repayment options: Find the best plan

Student loan forgiveness

Be extra wary of any company that reaches out with an offer to forgive your loans; it’s likely a scam.

» MORE: Hoping for student loan forgiveness won’t pay the bills

Existing student loan forgiveness programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or PSLF, are still available.

Government and nonprofit employees pursuing PSLF do not need to keep making payments during the automatic forbearance. Those months will still count toward the 120 payments needed to qualify for PSLF — provided you meet the program’s other eligibility requirements. For example, if you don’t work full-time for an eligible employer during those months, your waived payments won’t count toward forgiveness.

If you remain steadily employed in a qualifying job, don’t make your payments until Sept. 1, 2022. Your money has better uses until then, even if it’s just building emergency funds.

For borrowers already enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan, all suspended payments through the end of the year will count toward IDR forgiveness.Learn more about student loan forgiveness programs

How to work with your servicer

You do not need to contact your servicer to receive the payment postponement or interest waiver. But if you wish to continue making payments during the waiver period, contact your servicer for instructions.

» MORE: What federal student loan servicing companies might not tell you

Private student loan relief

Private lenders typically offer opportunities to pause payments for up to 12 months or longer with forbearance or deferment policies. These policies vary from lender to lender and, unlike current federal loan forbearance, interest will continue to accrue.

» MORE: Private student loan relief for borrowers in the coronavirus crisis

But some lenders are offering additional relief options, including short-term emergency forbearance or deferment. Others are waiving or refunding fees for late payments.

When in doubt, contact your lender to find out what options are available.

Student loan refinancing

Student loan refinancing rates are currently low due to the economic climate. If you already have private student loans, strong credit and steady income, see if you can save money — monthly or overall — by qualifying for a lower interest rate.

» MORE: When to refinance student loans

If you have federal student loans, don’t refinance while payments aren’t due. By refinancing, you’d lose existing federal loan benefits, such as access to interest-free forbearance and income-driven plans — as well as any new relief programs the government offers in response to the pandemic.

Relief efforts at your school

If colleges offering in-person classes close due to COVID-19, schools will take similar action as they did during 2020:

  • Continuing to keep housing open for its most vulnerable population, including homeless and international students. During the spring at University of Washington in Seattle, for example, residence halls remained open for students who needed to stay on campus, but only in dorms with private bathrooms to encourage social distancing. At Purchase College, State University of New York — located in one of the hardest-hit counties in New York during the spring — classes moved online, but certain groups of students were allowed to stay. This includes those without anywhere else to go, as well as international students and students without technology needed to complete online courses.
  • Offering refunds on housing and fees to students. During the spring the University System of Georgia issued refunds at a percentage of the semester’s cost for housing, dining and certain fees, as well as study abroad. At Binghamton University, State University of New York, charges for housing, meal plan and on-campus fees were prorated once a student leaves campus. Students received a credit balance automatically applied toward the fall semester unless a student requested a refund.
  • Distributing emergency financial aid and cash grants. The second coronavirus relief package provides funds to colleges to distribute to students in need of financial assistance due to the coronavirus. Public and not-for-profit colleges received a total of $20.5 billion, part of which must be used for emergency aid. Proprietary (for-profit private) colleges received $681 million, but must use the total amount to provide students with financial aid grants. In spring 2020, the Department of Education distributed $6.28 billion for the same purpose. The grant money can be used for technology, food, housing, health care, childcare and any course materials. Colleges will determine how to distribute grant funds. Schools may have their own well of emergency financial aid resources available for students, as well.

If your college moves to online learning this fall during the semester, call the school’s financial aid office to inquire about its refund policy. If you have no other suitable housing options, contact your college’s housing office to inquire about options for staying on campus.

Tax breaks for employer loan contributions

The original stimulus bill amended the tax code so you won’t pay taxes on student loan contributions from your employer. The second relief package extended this measure through the end of 2025. Previously, this money was treated as taxable income.

This change won’t offer relief from your student loans, as employer contributions are on top of what you pay. But it may incentivize more companies to offer this benefit — they now get a tax break, too — or to increase their payments.

These programs often top out around $1,200 annually. But this tax benefit covers amounts up to $5,250. That total is for all education assistance an employer provides, including tuition reimbursement programs.

The survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of NerdWallet from May 5-7, 2020, among 289 U.S. adults ages 18 and older who have private student loans. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Chloe Wallach at [email protected].”

how long is the grace period for plus loans

Student Loan Repayment

Before repayment begins, develop a plan that puts you on track to pay back your loan on time and in full.

Understanding the details of repayment on your federal student loan can save you time and money. Find out

  • what repayment plan options are available,
  • when you must begin making payments,
  • how to make your payment,
  • how to pay off your loan faster, and
  • what to do if you have trouble making payments.

I need more information about my loan servicer.

Find out who services your federal student loan(s).

Try This Resource

Federal Student Loans: Repaying Your Loans—Provides information about federal student loan repayment plan options, finding loan history and loan servicers, and making payments.

I need more information about the types of repayment plans available.

Learn more about Repayment Plans.

  • When You Must Begin Payments
  • The Grace Period
  • Making Payments
  • Having Your Student Loan Forgiven

REMEMBER: Your federal student loans can’t be canceled or forgiven because you didn’t get the education or job you expected or you didn’t complete your education (unless you couldn’t complete your education because your school closed).

Should I refinance to my federal student loans into a private loan?

As a federal student loan borrower, you have certain rights that are not typically available with private loans. While refinancing your federal student loans into a private student loan can sometimes lower your interest rate, your private student loan will not necessarily have the same terms and conditions as your federal student loan.

You should carefully review the terms of a private student loan before you give up the benefits available on federal student loans. The following are some examples of benefits that you may lose if you refinance your federal student loan into a private student loan:

  • Access to temporary loan payment relief through approved periods (deferment or forbearance) when you do not have to make payments because of financial hardship, continuing your education, or military service
  • No interest accumulation on subsidized student loans during periods when payments are deferred
  • Access to repayment plans based on your income that provide loan forgiveness once you have been in repayment for 20 or 25 years
  • Access to various forms of loan forgiveness and discharge, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness, teacher loan forgiveness, total and permanent disability discharge, and borrower defense to repayment discharge

When You Must Begin Payments

Once you graduate, drop below half-time enrollment, or leave school, your federal student loan goes into repayment. However, if you have a Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, or Federal Family Education Loan, you have a six-month grace period before you are required to start making regular payments. You’ll have a nine-month grace period if you’ve got a Perkins Loan. (Got a PLUS loan? You’ll go into repayment as soon as the loan is fully disbursed—which means once it’s paid out. But if you’re a graduate and professional student PLUS borrower, you will be placed on an automatic deferment while in school and for six months after graduating, leaving school, or dropping below half-time enrollment.)

Note: When your loan enters repayment, your servicer will automatically place you on the Standard Repayment Plan. You can request a different repayment plan at any time.

You can make prepayments on your loan while you are in school or during your grace period. Be aware, however, that any prepayment you make will not count as a qualifying payment in any loan forgiveness programs.

Your loan servicer will provide you with a loan repayment schedule that states when your first payment is due, the number and frequency of payments, and the amount of each payment.

Your billing statement will tell you how much to pay. Your monthly payment amount depends on your repayment plan. If you signed up for electronic communication, pay attention to your email. Most loan servicers send an email when your billing statement is ready for you to access online.

The Grace Period

For most federal student loan types, after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you have a six-month grace period (sometimes nine months for Perkins Loans) before you must begin making payments. This grace period gives you time to get financially settled and to select your repayment plan. Not all federal student loans have a grace period. Note that for most loans, interest accrues during your grace period. You can choose to pay the interest that accrues during your grace period. This prevents that interest from being added to the principal balance (also known as interest capitalization).

Loans and Their Grace Periods

Review this list to find out whether your loan has a grace period.

  • Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans have a six-month grace period before payments are due.
  • PLUS loans do not have a grace period; but if you received a PLUS loan as a graduate or professional student, you’ll automatically get a six-month deferment after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment. No payments are required during this six-month deferment period. If you’re a parent borrower who took out a PLUS loan to pay for your child’s education, you can request a six-month deferment after your child graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment. Contact your loan servicer for more information.
  • If you received a Federal Perkins Loan, check with the school where you received your loan.

Circumstances That May Affect Your Grace Period

Certain situations that may affect your grace period include the following:

  • Active duty military—If you are called to active military duty for more than 30 days before the end of your grace period, you will receive the full six-month grace period when you return from active duty.
  • Returning to school before the end of your loan’s grace period—If you reenroll in school at least half-time before the end of your grace period, you will receive the full six-month grace period when you stop attending school or drop below half-time enrollment.
  • Loan consolidation—If you consolidate your loans during your grace period, you give up the remainder of your grace period and begin repayment after your Direct Consolidation Loan is processed (unless you request to have the processing of your consolidation loan delayed until closer to the end of your grace period).

Making Payments

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) uses several loan servicers to handle the billing and other services on loans for the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program and for loans that were made under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and that ED later purchased. Your loan servicer will set you up under the Standard Repayment Plan unless you tell your loan servicer you want a different repayment plan.

Type of LoanSend Payments ToWhen to Send Payments
Direct Loans and FFEL loans owned by EDYour loan servicerCheck with your loan servicer.
FFEL loans not owned by EDThe bank, credit union, or other lending institution that made the loan (also known as the lender)Check with your lender.
Federal Perkins LoansYour school or the billing agency your school designatesCheck with your school.

If you schedule an automatic monthly electronic debit of your loan payment from your checking or savings account, you receive a 0.25% interest rate deduction on Direct Loans. Contact your loan servicer for more information. To make a payment by postal mail, contact your loan servicer for the mailing address.

To discuss repayment plan options or change your repayment plan, contact your loan servicer. First, though, you can use our Loan Simulator to get an early look at which plans you may be eligible for and see estimates for how much you would pay monthly and overall.

I want to get ahead by paying extra each month.

You can make payments before they are due or pay more than the amount due each month. Paying a little extra each month can reduce the interest you pay and reduce the total cost of your loan over time. Contact your loan servicer to discuss these options.

I’m having trouble making my loan payment.

Contact your loan servicer as soon as possible. You may be able to change your repayment plan to one that lowers your monthly payment and, in some cases, may be based on your income. You can also ask your loan servicer about your options for a deferment or forbearance or loan consolidation.

Try this Resource

Trouble Making Your Federal Student Loan Payments? provides information on what to do if you are having difficulty making your student loan payments.

I’ve missed one or more loan payments.

Stay in touch with your loan servicer—especially if you are struggling to make payments on your loans. Your loan servicer will explain your repayment options, such as applying for an income-driven repayment plan or a forbearance or deferment, to help you stay on track or get back on track when you fall behind.

One thing you definitely want to avoid is going into default! This occurs when you are at least nine months past due on your student loan. The consequences of default include damage to your credit rating and future borrowing ability. They may also include garnishment of your wages and withholding of your tax refunds. If you can’t make payments, contact your loan servicer to find out your options.

Having Your Student Loan Forgiven

You are generally required to repay your student loan, but in certain situations, your loan may be forgiven, canceled, or discharged.

student loan repayment extension

Biden-Harris Administration Extends Student Loan Pause Through August 31

Today, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced an extension of the pause on student loan repayment, interest, and collections through August 31, 2022. While the economy continues to improve and COVID cases continue to decline, President Biden has made clear the continuing need to respond to the pandemic and its economic consequences, as well as to allow for the responsible phase-down of pandemic relief.

The extension will provide additional time for borrowers to plan for the resumption of payments, reducing the risk of delinquency and defaults after restart. During the extension, the Department will continue to assess the financial impacts of the pandemic on student loan borrowers and to prepare to transition borrowers smoothly back into repayment. This includes allowing all borrowers with paused loans to receive a “fresh start” on repayment by eliminating the impact of delinquency and default and allowing them to reenter repayment in good standing. The Department will also continue to provide loan relief, including to borrowers who have been defrauded by their institutions and those eligible for relief through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. FSA will establish new partnerships to ensure that borrowers working in public service are automatically credited with progress toward forgiveness, eliminating paperwork that prevents many borrowers from getting help. FSA will also continue to transfer loans to servicers committed to working under new, stronger accountability rules.

“The Department of Education is committed to ensuring that student loan borrowers have a smooth transition back to repayment,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “This additional extension will allow borrowers to gain more financial security as the economy continues to improve and as the nation continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. It remains a top priority for the Biden-Harris Administration to support students, families, and borrowers – especially those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. During the pause, we will continue our preparations to give borrowers a fresh start and to ensure that all borrowers have access to repayment plans that meet their financial situations and needs.”

More information about the payment pause and supports for borrowers can be found at StudentAid.gov.

Today’s action is one in a series of steps the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to support students and borrowers, make an education beyond high school more affordable, and improve student loan servicing. In just over one year, the Department has provided over $17 billion in targeted loan relief to over 700,000 borrowers. Actions within that include:

  • Revamping the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program in October, which has already allowed the Department to identify more than 100,000 borrowers eligible for $6.4 billion in loan relief. As part of that effort, the Department implemented a Limited PSLF Waiver to count all prior payments made by student borrowers toward PSLF, regardless of the loan program. Borrowers who are working in public service but have not yet applied for PSLF should do so before October 31, 2022, and can find out more at StudentAid.gov/PSLF.
  • Providing $7.8 billion in relief for more than 400,000 borrowers who have a total and permanent disability.
  • Approving $2 billion in borrower defense claims to approximately 107,000 borrowers, including extending full relief to approved claims and approving new types of claims.
  • Providing $1.26 billion in closed school discharges to 107,000 borrowers who attended the now-defunct ITT Technical Institute.
  • Helping 30,000 small business owners with student loans seeking help from the Paycheck Protection Program.

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