If you are dropping below half-time enrollment, graduating, or withdrawing from the University of Iowa, it is important to communicate with the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) to understand your responsibilities and next steps. Make sure to plan and budget for any upcoming loan repayments and other financial responsibilities that might come up. Staying proactive and informed will help you manage your finances smoothly during this transition.

Prepare for Loan Repayment

While you are enrolled half-time or higher in a degree program, your loans will be in in-school deferment status. Your Federal Direct Subsidized Loans and institutional loans will not accrue interest while you are in school. However, Federal Unsubsidized and Private Student Loans will accrue interest throughout the life of the loan.

Once you drop below half-time enrollment, all student loans will enter grace period status (generally six months but it may be 9-12 months depending on the loan type), followed by repayment status. Your assigned loan servicer will contact you during your grace period to prepare you for repayment. Your first loan payments are normally due a month after the grace period ends.

Check Your Loan History

Federal Direct Loan History via My Federal Student Aid
Log in using your FSA ID. You will see a list of your federal loans borrowed to date. Click on the number next to each loan to find the interest rate, loan status, and contact information for the company that is servicing the loan.

Institutional Loan History – ECSI
Serviced by the University of Iowa, your full history of institutional loans can be found online through ECSI.

Private Educational Loans
Contact the lender, bank, or credit union that you borrowed from directly or review your credit report.

Complete Exit Counseling

Exit counseling is a required online tutorial that reviews the loan terms of the loans you borrowed. The tutorial will go over your loan details and obligations, review repayment plans, and gives you the chance to update your contact information for your loan servicer. You will receive emails from the Office of Student Financial Aid if you need to complete loan exit counseling. This will happen when you graduate, drop below half-time enrollment, or withdraw.

Federal Direct Loans Exit Counseling

Institutional Loans Exit Counseling

Set Up Your Online Account

Your loan servicer has probably been in contact with you since you borrowed your loans and will also contact you when you graduate, drop below half-time, or withdraw. They will encourage you to set up an account on their website so you can learn about the following:

  • When your loan grace period(s) end:
    • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans have a 6-month grace period.
    • Institutional loans have a 9 or 12-month grace period, depending on the loan type.
    • Private loans typically have a 6-month grace period, but you will need to confirm the length with your lender.
  • When your first payment is due and how much the payment will be.
  • What your interest rate is for each loan.

Federal Student Aid – Who’s My Loan Servicer?

Institutional Loans – ECSI

Determine Your Repayment Plan

Federal Direct Loans
Use the Federal Student Aid Loan Simulator to review what your monthly payment would be in all the various repayment plans, and then choose one that suits your financial situation. Work with your loan servicer during your grace period to get the plan set up before your first payment is due.

Federal Direct Loan Forgiveness Programs
The Department of Education offers two loan forgiveness programs to encourage borrowers to enter full-time public service or teach in certain high-need areas in high-need subjects.

Institutional Loans
Set up repayment through ECSI.

Automate Your Monthly Payment

Setting up automatic loan payments from your bank account every month means your payments will never be late! If you have a Federal Direct Loan, setting up automatic payments may also make you eligible for a 0.25% monthly interest rate reduction. Work with your loan servicer during your grace period to get automatic loan payments set up before your first payment is due.

Tips for Reviewing Your Student Loan Payment

Need Loan Tips & Strategies for Repayment?