It is important for you to repay your student loans as the penalties for not doing so can be severe. For a sample repayment schedule for your student  loans, as well as a list of the various repayment options, please see below.

Repayment options

There are several repayment options for you to consider. If you’re interested in any of these options, contact your loan holder for more information.

Standard Repayment

  • This plan is the most financially effective way to repay your student loan while minimizing interest costs.
  • Payments are due monthly (excluding periods of deferment or forbearance), even if you don’t receive any notifications or statements.
  • This schedule has a 10-year repayment term.

Graduated Repayment

  • This plan is ideal if you have limited income now, but expect to earn more in the future. However, total interest costs are typically higher over the life of the loan.
  • Monthly payments begin low, then increase gradually over time.
  • Payments must cover accruing interest.
  • This schedule has a 10-year repayment term.

Extended Repayment

  • This plan is only available to borrowers who have loans totaling more than $30,000.
  • You can choose either the standard or graduated repayment option (both are described above).
  • The repayment term can be up to 25 years.

Income-Sensitive Repayment

  • This plan is only available for FFELP loans.
  • This plan is appropriate if your income fluctuates, you have substantial loan balances or you need smaller monthly payments to meet other financial obligations. However, total interest costs are typically higher over the life of the loan.
  • Monthly payments are adjusted based on gross monthly income.
  • Payments must cover accruing interest.
  • This plan must be renewed each year.

Income-Contingent Repayment

  • This plan is only available for Direct loans from the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Monthly payments are adjusted based on annual income, family size and the total amount of loan(s) and may change as income changes.
  • Any outstanding loan balance after 25 years of repayment is forgiven. The amount forgiven may be taxable as income.

Income-Based Repayment

The Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan is designed to make loan repayment easier for borrowers with lower salaries. The plan:

  • caps the monthly payments at a percentage of a borrower’s discretionary income and factors in family size. The total amount borrowed is not considered in determining your IBR payment amount during any period when you have a “partial financial hardship.”
  • adjusts the monthly payment amount each year based on changes in annual income and family size.
  • sets a maximum repayment period of 25 years. After 25 years, any remaining debt is forgiven.

Learn more about IBR plans and estimate your repayment amount.

Federal Consolidation Loans

Consolidation allows you to combine all your federal education loans into a single, more manageable loan, make one monthly payment to a single loan holder and extend your repayment period to a maximum of up to 30 years depending on the consolidated loan amount.

To be eligible for a Federal Consolidation loan, you must certify you don’t have another application for a consolidation loan pending with another lender and either:

  • Be enrolled in school less than half time or no longer enrolled;
  • Be in your grace period;
  • Be in repayment.

If you choose to consolidate your loans, you’ll still have the option to choose from the standard, graduated, income-sensitive, income-based or extended (if applicable) repayment schedules.

Learn more about loan consolidation on the U.S. Department of Education website or by calling 800.557.7392 (toll-free).