Important Things to Know About Federal Student Loans
- All student loans are subject to annual maximum amounts, and the student must be the applicant/borrower.
- Institutions that enter into an agreement with a potential student, current student, or parent of a student regarding a Title IV, HEA loan are required to inform the student or parent that the loan will be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSDLS), and will be accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders, and institutions determined to be authorized users of the data system.
- For detailed information about your Federal Direct loan borrowing history including contact information for your Federal Direct Loan servicer, visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).
Student Loan Repayment
Understanding the details of repayment by visiting the Federal Student Aid website.
Many repayment options are available. To view details regarding different plans, the Repayment Plans page of the Federal Student Aid website.
Preparing for Student Loan Payments to Start/Restart
The Department of Education plans to end the pause on student loan repayment, interest, and collections after July 1, 2023 (see below update from the Department of Education). To ensure a smooth transition back into repayment, the following steps are recommended:
- Log in to your loan servicer's website or mobile app to make sure your contact information is current.
- Don't know who your loan servicer is? To find out, login to the Federal Student Aid website and visit your account dashboard. Find the "My Aid" section and select "View loan servicer details".
- You can also call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1 (800) 4-FED-AID / 1 (800) 433-3243).
- Use the Loan Simulator on the Federal Student Aid website to make sure you are on the best repayment plan. The best plan for you may be different now if your financial situation has changed during the COVID-19 emergency.
- Contact your loan servicer to restart auto-debit, sign up for auto-debit for the first time, or find out the easiest way to make a payment. Direct Loan borrowers who use auto-debit get a 0.25% interest rate deduction on their loans.
- Check your email and postal mail for student loan payment updates from your loan servicer and the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Federal Student Aid. The updates could include your monthly payment amount and due date.
- Learn how to avoid student aid scams on the Federal Student Aid website. Your servicer provides free help with your questions or concerns about loan payments.
Visit the COVID-19 Emergency Relief and Federal Student Aid webpage at Federal Student Aid regularly for the latest information on these flexibilities and when they are scheduled to end.
Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
The PSLF program was established by the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs. Under this program, Federal student loan borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance of their Federal Direct Loans after making 120 qualifying payments on those loans while employed full-time by certain public service employers.
To qualify for PSLF, you must:
- be employed by a qualifying employer, i.e. a U.S. Federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organization (Federal service includes U.S. military service);
- work full-time for that agency or organization;
- have Direct Loans (or consolidate other Federal student loans into a Direct Loan);
- repay your loans under an income-driven repayment plan*; and
- make 120 qualifying payments.
To ensure you are on the right track, you should submit a Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) & Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF) Certification & Application annually, or when you change employers. Your loan servicer will use the information provided on the form to let you know if you are making qualifying PSLF payments. This will help you determine if you are on the right track as early as possible.
Important Limited PSLF Waiver Opportunity
On October 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced a temporary period during which borrowers may receive credit for payments that previously did not qualify for PSLF or TEPSLF. Visit the Federal Student Aid website to learn more about this limited PSLF waiver.
Suspended Payments Count Toward PSLF and TEPSLF During the COVID-19 Administrative Forbearance
If you have a Direct Loan and work full-time for a qualifying employer during the payment suspension (administrative forbearance), then you will receive credit towards PSLF or TEPSLF for the period of suspension as though you made on-time monthly payments in the correct amount while on qualifying repayment plan.
To see these qualifying payments reflected in your account, you must submit a PSLF form certifying your employment for the same period of time as the suspension. Your count of qualifying payments toward PSLF is officially updated only when you update your employment certifications.
Digital signatures from you or your employer must be hand-drawn (from a signature pad, mouse, finger, or by taking a picture of a signature drawn on a piece of paper that you then scan and embed on the signature line of the PSLF form) to be accepted. Typed signatures, even if made to mimic a hand-drawn signature, or security certificate-based signatures are not accepted.
Note: In-grace, in-school, and certain deferment, forbearance, and bankruptcy statuses are not eligible for credit towards PSLF.
Visit the Federal Student Aid website for additional information on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and what loans qualify.
Biden-Harris Student Debt Relief
On August 24, 2022, President Joe Biden announced that his administration will be forgiving (canceling) up to $10,000 in student loan debt for millions of borrowers. For Federal Pell Grant recipients, the amount of debt forgiveness/cancellation will be up to $20,000.
Loans disbursed before June 30, 2022, are eligible. The Federal Government plans to notify eligible students and make loan adjustments automatically. For more information visit Federal Student Aid's Biden-Harris Administration Student Debt Relief Explained webpage.
- Biden-Harris Student Debt Relief Update - Protect Yourself from Scams (October 5, 2022)
- Quoted from the Federal Student Aid website, Student Loan Payment Pause Extended:
"The student loan payment pause is extended until the U.S. Department of Education is permitted to implement the debt relief program or the litigation is resolved. Payments will restart 60 days later. If the debt relief program has not been implemented and the litigation has not been resolved by June 30, 2023 — payments will resume 60 days after that. We will notify borrowers before payments restart."