Information from the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Repaying Student Loans

Once you have graduated college, you will soon get a notice about repayment of your student loans from your loan servicer(s). It is important to understand the details of loan repayment as well as the options available to you

Repaying Federal Student Loans

For most federal student loan types, after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you have a six-month grace period before you must begin making payments.

With federal student loans, you can adjust repayment plans with no penalties. A standard repayment schedule consists of 10 years, which dices up the loan amount into 120 equal payments.

IDR Payment Count Adjustment

Updates to page include:

  • Prioritization of PSLF Borrowers
  • Clarification of On Ramp and Bankruptcy
  • Updates about the end of the Payment Pause
  • Potential inclusion of other deferments under new SAVE rules

Closed School Discharge

Updated to account for the new closed school regulations.

(LOANS-23-06) Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act: Forbearance Guidance

This announcement provides guidance for federal loan servicers and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) loan holders and servicers on granting forbearance to joint consolidation loan borrowers wishing to separate their joint loan obligations into new, individual Direct Consolidation loans in accordance with the Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act (JCLSA) that was signed into law on Oct. 11, 2022.

Learn more about repaying federal student loans and options:

Repaying Private Loans

Private student loans can offer both in-school and deferred repayment options. After your grace period, you will be required to begin making principal and interest payments.

You should review your student loan contract or contact your loan servicer to better understand what is required for repaying your loan.

What Should I Do If I Can't Afford My Student Loan Payments?

Contact your loan servicer to find out more information about affordable repayment plans which may reduce or postpone your monthly payment. For federal student loans, there are several repayment plans available to reduce your payment.

You may also be able to postpone your payments under deferment or forbearance.

  • Deferment: A deferment is a temporary pause to your student loan payments for specific situations such as active duty military service and re-enrollment in school.
  • Forbearance: Forbearance is a temporary postponement or reduction of your student loan payments because you are experiencing financial difficulty.

Tips for Paying Off Student Loans Faster

  • Pay more than the minimum payment each month
    Paying even a little more than the minimum due each month will help you pay off your loans faster because the extra money pays down the principal faster. You should let your loan servicer know that you would like your extra money to be applied to your loan principal. Otherwise, your loan servicer might apply your extra money to next months payment.
  • Make bi-weekly payments
    Pay half of your student loan payment every two weeks instead of making one full monthly payment. You will end up making an extra payment each year, saving you money and interest costs.
  • Enroll in autopay
    Enrolling in autopay helps ensure that you never miss a payment. Bonus! If you have Direct Loans, get a 0.25% interest rate deduction while you participate in automatic bill pay.

Helpful Resources

Federal Student Loan Repayment Options
Options and programs for federal student loan repayment.

Look Up Your Federal Student Loan Information
Information about your student loan is is available by logging in to your FSA account dashboard.

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
In certain situations, you can have your federal student loans forgiven, canceled, or discharged. Learn more about the types of forgiveness and whether you qualify due to your job or other circumstances.

Avoiding Student Loan Delinquency and Default
If you’ve missed a payment or are having trouble making payments, immediately contact and discuss options with the organization that handles billing and other services for your loan to avoid defaulting on your loan.

Washington Student Loan Advocate
The student loan advocate supports current and future student loan borrowers in Washington State.