Take time to plan for the next several months before you have to begin repayment of your loans. Learn what is expected of you, what repayment options are available, and what terminology you need to be familiar with. Listed below are some suggestions of where to begin.
Locate Loan Documentation
Now is the time to pull out all your student loans documents that you have kept over the years. It will be easier to locate loan information if your paperwork is organized. Make sure that documents are organized in a usable manner, such as by date or type of loan.
Contact the Financial Aid Office
Keep in mind, when you signed your financial aid documents, you entered a legally binding contract. Therefore, regardless of your satisfaction with your education, your degree completion or current employment status, you are obligated to repay the money you borrowed. It is a good idea to meet with a financial aid advisor before it is time to begin repaying your loans. For example, your financial aid advisor might be able to answer your specific questions regarding your loans and help prepare you for the exit counseling meeting.
Determine Grace Periods
A grace period is the time period between being a student and when you begin repaying your loans. No payments are expected during this time although interest may accrue depending on the loan (subsidized vs. unsubsidized). It is important to recognize that each loan has a unique grace period. For example, Stafford Loans have a six-month grace period and Perkins Loans have a nine-month grace period before repayment is required. Because the terms for private or alternative loans are decided by the lender, grace periods vary. Contact your lender for more information regarding the terms of your loan.