As you prepare for life after school, follow the tips below.

Determine whether you have federal student loans, private student loans, or both. The advice below is for federal student loans. To discuss repayment options for private student loans, contact your lender.

If you are not continuing your education or attending graduate school

  • In most cases, you will have six months from the time you graduate or leave school before you have to begin making student loan payments. This is your grace period. Use this time to explore the repayment options available to you.
  • Repayment Checklist
  • Compare your monthly payment options.  Use this repayment calculator to explore your options.
  • Choose or apply for an affordable repayment plan. If you take no action, you will be placed on the 10-year standard repayment plan. If you need a lower monthly payment, apply for an income-driven repayment plan, such as Pay As You Earn.
  • Set up your payments. You will not pay the U.S. Department of Education directly. In most cases, you will make payments to your federal loan servicer.  Ask your servicer how to sign up for automatic payments. You could receive a 0.25% interest rate deduction for enrolling!
  • Know who to contact if you need help with your student loans. You never have to pay for student loan help! Your federal loan servicer will never charge fees and can help you for free.  Save your servicer’s phone number in your phone.
  • Questions? Contact us! Financial Literacy Services staff are available to current students and alumni if you have questions or are having trouble navigating repayment.  Email us at financial-literacy@uiowa.edu

If you are continuing your education or attending graduate school

Contact your loan servicer to request an in-school deferment. If you have unsubsidized loans, it’s even more important to consider making student loan payments while you’re in school to prevent interest from accruing (accumulating).

Beware of student loan scams

You never have to pay for help with your student loans. As you are researching repayment and forgiveness options, make sure you are getting information from trusted sources, like ".gov" websites or your servicer’s website. The government and your servicer will never charge application or maintenance fees, so if you are asked to pay, walk away. Contact your servicer for free assistance.