Paying Your Student Loans

It is important to know that only your student loans have to be repaid; your grants and scholarships are treated like gifts you never have to return. Students must understand WHO they owe, WHAT they owe, and WHEN the payments are due.

Who is My Loan SERVICER?

The first thing you need to do is make sure you know WHO is servicing YOUR loans. You can check any of these sites to find out (Use the same login you use for the FAFSA, the FSA User ID and Password):

Studentloans.gov – View information on your loans, apply for Income-driven repayment plans, apply for loan consolidation, and check the statuses of any ongoing applications. Login with your FSA User ID and Password.

Studentaid.ed.gov – Get information on who is servicing your loans, as well as information on loan repayment, types of aid, tips on preparing for college, and an expansive glossary of key terminology. Login with your FSA User ID and Password.

NSLDS – View your federal loans, grants, and aid overpayments. Current enrollment status, exit counseling, FAQ’s, and other information is also provided. Login with your FSA User ID and Password.

WHEN Do I Need to MAKE PAYMENTS?

It is important to know WHEN you will be responsible for making payments on your student loan. After you drop below 6 credit hours, whether it is through graduation OR dropping classes, you will have a six month grace period where you will not be expected to make a payment. Once you have gone six consecutive months below 6 credit hours, you are in repayment! Create an online account with your loan servicer so you can stay up to date with important information.

How Do I MAKE A PAYMENT on My Student Loans?

 How to Make a PaymentYour loan servicer handles all the billing regarding your student loan, so your payments will be made directly to them. Refer to “Who is servicing your loans” to determine who your loan servicer is. You WILL NOT make these payments to GTCC, we are here to connect you to the servicer of your loans during your repayment. Create a login for your loan servicer’s website so you can stay up to date!

How Do I Find the Best REPAYMENT PLANS?

There are several repayment plans available to student loan borrowers. If you don’t choose a plan, then you will be automatically enrolled in the standard repayment plan, which will have your loan entirely paid off in 10 years. However many students are looking into other repayment options, such as Income-Driven repayment.

If you’d like to repay your federal student loans under an income-driven plan, you need to fill out an application. Click apply now!

How Can I ESTIMATE My PAYMENT Amount?

Why not use the Repayment Estimator created by the federal government? This can help you plan for your loan payment amounts as well as help you pick the best repayment plan for you. Before you borrow more loans, you may want to see what your payments already look like. For a more exact amount, contact your loan servicer!

What if I CAN’T AFFORD MY PAYMENTS?

What if I Can’t Afford My PaymentsThe WORST thing you can do is ignore your payments if you are having trouble. If you fail to make payments for 270 days, or 9 months, then your loans will be considered in default. The consequences of default are severe:

  • The entire unpaid balance of your loan and interest is immediately due and payable.
  • You can lose eligibility for Deferment, Forbearance, and Repayment Plans.
  • You lose eligibility for additional federal student financial aid.
  • Your loan account is assigned to a collection agency.
  • Your credit rating will be damaged, negatively affecting your ability to buy a car, house, or even get a credit card.
  • You employer can withhold money from your paycheck and instead use it to pay the government, in a process called wage garnishment.
  • Your federal and state taxes may be withheld through a tax offset to collect any of your defaulted student loan debt.

It will take years to reestablish your credit and fully recover from default. The best thing to do is avoid it altogether, and speak to your loan servicer when you are starting to fall behind!!! You can ask them about deferments, forbearances, and income-driven repayment plans.

What WILL HAPPEN If I Don’t Make Payments?

If you fail to make payments for 9 months your student loans will go into default. You will lose your eligibility for more financial aid, as well as many other severe consequences listed in the tab “What if I Can’t Afford My Payments.”

A person generally isn’t eligible for FSA funds if he is in default on an FSA loan or he owes an overpayment on an FSA grant or loan and he has not made a repayment arrangement for the default or overpayment.

Any student applying for FSA funds must certify that s/he isn’t in default on any FSA loan and doesn’t owe an overpayment on any FSA grant, or that s/he has made satisfactory arrangements to repay the overpayment or default.

Forgiveness, Cancelation, and Discharge

There are a few circumstances that may result in your no longer having to repay your federal student loans. Click here to find out what circumstances qualify your loans for forgiveness, cancelation, or discharge. If you think you qualify, contact your loan servicer to apply.

Call your servicer and let them know you are having trouble making payments, it is their job to offer you the best solutions!!!