5 Things to Do During the Student Loan Grace Period
With college graduations approaching, it’s time to talk about student loan repayment. Before you panic, there’s a bit of good news. Most student loans offer a grace period before you need to start paying them back. But that doesn’t mean you should forget them during that time. You’ll want to get your ducks in a row and be ready to pay when that first payment comes due. Here are 5 things you should do during the student loan grace period:
Know How Long You Have
Your student loan grace period — if there is one — can vary based on the types of loans you have. These are the current student loan grace periods:
- Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans have a six-month grace period
- PLUS loans have no grace period, but may be eligible for a deferment. Contact your loan servicer to find out.
- If you have a Federal Perkins Loan, check with your school where you received the loan
- Private loans may offer a grace period; check directly with the lender who provided the loan.
Confirm Your FSA ID
You’ll need your FSA ID to use certain online services provided by the U.S. Department of Education. Visit Federal Student Aid to be sure your current FSA ID is active or to reset your information if you can’t remember it. Your FSA ID is a key piece of information you’ll need throughout the student loan repayment process, so you’ll want to have it ready to go.
Find Your Loan Servicer(s)
Loan servicers are the companies that handle billing and other services for federal student loans. The Department of Education assigns your loan to a loan servicer; you don’t get to choose who services your loans. You’ll want to establish contact with your loan servicer before your first payment is due to be sure they have all your current contact information. You’ll also want to update your servicer any time that information changes over the coming years.
Figure Out Your Payment
Knowing what your monthly student loan payment will be can help you budget and plan for the future. If you’re worried you won’t be making enough to cover the payment, call us for Student Loan Counseling. We can help you discover repayment options your servicer might not be telling you about. We will even act as your advocate on calls with your loan servicer if you’re not sure what questions to ask or just need a little extra support. Use our Student Loan Payoff calculator to estimate your pay-off date.
Start Paying Right Away if Possible
If you’re employed immediately after graduation and can start paying back your student loan right away, you should. After all, the sooner you start paying, the sooner you will pay off your loans. If you can’t start making full payments before the grace period ends, you may want to consider at least paying the monthly interest that accrues before it’s added to your principal balance. Check with your loan service about options available for interest-only payments.