After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you will need to complete a Perkins Exit Interview and/or Stafford Exit Interview. You will then receive information about repayment and your loan provider will notify you of the date your loan repayment begins. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of making your full loan payment on time either monthly (which is the usual pay cycle) or according to your repayment schedule. If you do not make your regular payments, you could end up in default, which has serious consequences. Student loans are real loans—just as real as car loans or mortgages. You must pay back your student loans.
Each type of loan has its own requirements regarding grace periods (amount of time until your first payment), repayment options, and repayment periods:
Federal Perkins Loans
- You have a grace period of nine months until your first payment must be received for your Federal Perkins Loan.
- Perkins Loans generally must be repaid within ten years.
- Your monthly payment will depend on the total you have borrowed from the Perkins Loan program.
Federal Stafford Loans
- You have a grace period of six months until your first payment must be received for your Federal Stafford Loan.
- Repayment Information from the Department of Education explains available repayment options for Stafford Loans, includes examples of monthly payments for different loan amounts, and covers other topics you need to consider when managing your loans. Use the Student Loan Calculator to calculate your monthly payments and compare them to your expected starting salary.
- Income Based Repayment is a new repayment plan for the major types of federal loans made to students including Stafford, Grad PLUS, and some Consolidation loans. Under IBR, your required monthly payment is capped at an amount that is intended to be affordable based on your income and family size.
- Your monthly payment will depend on the size of your loans and the length of your repayment period.
Federal PLUS Loans
- The repayment period for all PLUS loans begins on the date the loan is fully disbursed, and the first payment is due within 60 days of the final disbursement.
- Parent PLUS loan borrowers may choose to have repayment deferred while the student for whom the parent borrowed is enrolled at least half-time and for an additional six months after that student is no longer enrolled at least half-time.