Repaying Your Loans

When you are accepting loans to help pay for your college education, it is important to think ahead to repayment. 


To help you make an informed choice when borrowing and prepare you for repayment, consider when you will start repaying, how much your monthly payments will be and how long you will be repaying your loans.

Below we have shared information and resources to help you better manage your loans after graduation. It will be useful to have your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID nearby, as it is required to access several of these resources. If you do not have an FSA ID or have forgotten your login information, please visit fsaid.ed.gov to create one or to retrieve your FSA ID information.

Direct Loans Payment Plans

To repay borrowed funds from Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans or a Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, the federal government offers several options for payment plans. The amount of your monthly payments and the number of your monthly payments (equaling the total amount you will owe) is determined by the payment plan you select, either standard, extended or graduate payment plan.

After graduating, you may be eligible for special repayment programs. These plans, which are income-driven, include, Pay-As-You-Earn, Revised Pay-As-You-Earn, Income-Based and Income-Contingent. Payments are adjusted as your income varies.

For further information about federal student loan payment options, please visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Direct Loan Repayment Plans page.

Estimating Your Monthly Payments

To help calculate your repayment, we suggest you use the Loan Simulator. This tool, which you must use your FSA ID to access, can help you view which plans you may be eligible for and find a repayment plan that aligns with your financial needs. They also provide guidance on how to manage and understand student debt, by helping you select a plan in five steps or less. The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also provides an online Repay Student Debt tool that can walk you through your options and optimize how to pay off your loans.

You may also visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Manage Loans page to access a variety of repayment calculators to understand your payment plan options. To use these calculators, you will need the cumulative amount of your federal loans. You can find this information by logging in to the National Student Loan Data System with your FSA ID information.

Required Exit Counseling

Online exit counseling is required for students borrowing through the Federal Loan Program and must be completed when repayment begins. Repayment of your federal Direct Loans starts six months after your graduate, withdraw from classes or drop below half-time enrollment.

Completing exit counseling is simple:

  1. Go to the federal student aid exit counseling page.
  2. Log in with your FSA ID, social security number and date of birth.

For more information, please review the Exist Counseling Guide.

Loan Payment Help

The Office of Student Financial Aid is available to help you understand your repayment options and assist you as a third-party liaison with the U.S. Department of Education. To contact us, call 301.314.TERP (8377) or email loantalk@umd.edu.

Direct Loan Forgiveness

If you are employed full-time in the public service sector and are enrolled in certain repayment plans, you may be eligible for forgiveness of the remaining balance of your federal student loans after making 120 monthly payments. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness page.

If you have been a full-time teacher in a low-income school or education agency for five complete and consecutive years, you may qualify for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. Through this program, you may be eligible for forgiveness of up to $17,500 on qualifying federal loans.

Direct Loan Forbearance

If you are experiencing difficulty making your loan payments, you might qualify for a deferment, forbearance or other forms of payment relief. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s temporary payment relief page.

Federal Consolidation Loans

If you borrowed different types of federal loans, you have the option to combine them, even if they have varying repayment schedules, into a Direct Consolidation Loan. By consolidating your loans, you will have a single monthly payment.

To repay your private loans, you will need to contact your lender directly. Each private loan lender will offer their own repayment options based on the terms and conditions of your loan agreement.

If you are unsure of your private lender information, please review your loan documents or your personal credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires credit agencies to provide a free copy of your credit report every 12 months. The Federal Trade Commission has a central website to request your free credit report or you can request by calling 1.877.322.8228.

Many private loan lenders offer education loan consolidation programs but they are separate from the federal student loan consolidation program and will not offer the same federal loan repayment options. Please be sure to discuss all your repayment options in detail with your lender.