When it comes to repaying your federal student loan, understanding the details of repayment can save you time and money. Find out when repayment starts, how to make your payment, repayment plan options, and more.

Click the links below to see repayment plan options:

Standard Repayment Plan

Graduated Repayment Plan

Extended Repayment Plan

Income-Based Repayment Plan

Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan

Income-Contingent Repayment Plan

Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan

Student Loan Forgiveness 

Consolidate Your Loans

If you have multiple federal student loans, you can consolidate them into a single Direct Consolidation Loan. This may simplify repayment if you are currently making separate loan payments to different loan holders or servicers, as you’ll only have one monthly payment to make. There may be tradeoffs, however, so you’ll want to learn about the advantages and possible disadvantages of consolidation before you consolidate.

Frequently Asked Questions

When do I begin repaying my federal student loan?

You don’t have to begin repaying most federal student loans until after you leave college or drop below half-time enrollment. However, PLUS loans enter repayment once your loan is fully disbursed (paid out).

Your loan servicer or lender must 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. Keep in mind that your loan may have a grace period.

What’s a grace period?

The grace period is a set period of time after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment before you must begin repayment on your loan. The 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 will accrue during your grace period.

  • Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans have a six-month grace period before payments are due.
  • PLUS loans have no grace period. They enter repayment once they are fully disbursed but may be eligible for a deferment. Contact your loan servicer for more information.
  • If you received a Federal Perkins Loan, check with the school where you received your loan.

How much will I need to pay?

Your bill will tell you how much to pay. Your payment (usually made monthly) depends on:

  • the type of loan you received,
  • how much money you borrowed,
  • the interest rate on your loan, and
  • the repayment plan you choose.

How do I make my payments?

The U.S. Department of Education uses several loan servicers to handle the billing and other services on loans for the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program and for loans that were made under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and that the department of education later purchased. You’ll tell your loan servicer which repayment plan you’d like to choose.

Can I pay more than my required monthly payment?

You can make payments before they are due or pay more than the amount due each month. Contact your loan servicer to make sure the money is applied to your principal balance. Interest is charged on this amount. Paying a little extra each month can reduce the interest you pay and reduce your total cost of your loan over time.