January 23, 2019

How Much Do I Owe in Student Loans?

Read more about Student Loans

Repaying student loans can really cramp your budget. But you do have options. Learn the types of loans, how to find what you owe, and your repayment options below.

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WHO HOLDS MY LOANS?

Student loans are often sold to other lenders after the loan papers are signed. Your student loans may also be serviced by a company that is not your original or current lender.

Depending upon the type of student loan you acquired, federal or private, there are several key ways, at no cost to you, to track down the balance of your loans.

Though you can't stop your loan from being sold, you SHOULD stay in touch with your current lender. Always notify them when your address changes so you can monitor your student loan balance and transactions.

WHICH STUDENT LOAN PLAN AM I?

Student loans are funded by either the government, which are called federal loans, or lenders, which are called private loans.

FEDERAL LOANS: The federal government provides several types of direct loans:

  • Subsidized: The government offers aid based on your financial need. You determine this amount by completing the FAFSA, discussed here.

    The government covers your interest while you are in school and for six months after graduation or from the date you stopped attending classes. They also cover your interest during any times of deferment.

  • Unsubsidized: Eligibility for these loans is not based on financial need. Typically, you go through your subsidized loan options first.
    Any remaining funds you need can be obtained with a direct unsubsidized loan. This is also known as the Federal Stafford Unsubsidized Loan. This loan begins accruing interest from the first day of class.

  • PLUS: Graduates are ineligible for direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans but can obtain a PLUS loan. PLUS loans are also issued to parents of dependent undergraduate students.

    These loans are a little harder to quality for. You must not have a negative credit history, and you must exhaust all other federal loan options.

  • Consolidation: After graduation, you may have multiple loans with different due dates. The direct consolidate loan helps make this happen. By consolidating eligible loans, you end up with one monthly payment due date, as well as one interest rate.

For more information on direct loans, read Subsidized vs Unsubsidized Student Loans.

PRIVATE LOANS: These loans are funded by banks and credit unions. They are not affiliated with the government.

Private loans are not granted on a financial need basis; loan programs differ by bank. Either you or your parents must qualify for the loan. Credit checks are often completed for each applicant.

Things to know about private loans:

  • Cosigner: When applying for a private loan, or if you or a parent are originally denied a PLUS loan, you may or may not be required to have a credit-worthy consigner.

  • Fixed or variable interest rates: Government loans offer fixed rates. Private loans may not. You may have a loan with a rate that adjusts annually or even several times a year.

  • Varying terms: Private loans have different terms, meaning the length of the repayment term varies.

  • Varying repayment options: Government loans offer repayment plans. Private loans do not necessarily offer the same program. Every lender is different.

FIND YOUR FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS

The U.S. Department of Education's National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is a database site that houses federal student loan records. This is an online tool for you to find and keep track of your federal student loans.

To set up access on the NSLDS site, borrowers are required to use an FSA ID. You will be asked for your Social Security number and contact information

Your FSA ID will be used to confirm your identity when accessing your financial aid information, and it can also be used for signing future federal student aid documents.

The average student loan payment is $351 per month. The average graduate left school with $37,122 in student loan debt.

The NSLDS database is limited—the site lists loan balances and transactions that may be up to 120 days old. Use it to determine your loan servicer and then contact the servicer for your current loan balance.

Also, the NSLDS database does not contain:

  • Private loan information
  • Older loans (such as loans originated 30 years ago)
  • Loans that are not Title IV-eligible loans, such as medical or nursing school loans

If you have older loans, medical or nursing school loans that are not in the NSLDS database, contact your lender or loan servicer to obtain your current loan balance. (We cover private student loans below.)

Are any of these your federal loan servicer? The Department of Education (DOE) uses these companies to help borrowers manage their student loans.

  • ACS Education is now known as Conduent Education Services, a federal student loan servicer, offering free loan services.
  • Edfinancial is a federal student loan servicer, with over 25 years in the business.
  • FedLoan is a federal student loan servicer, offering free loan services.
  • Great Lakes, or Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc., has 50 years in the industry. Loan services with Great Lakes are free.
  • MOHELA is the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority, a nonprofit company with over 30 years in business. Loan services include both federal and private loans and are free.
  • Navient is the largest federal student loan servicer in the United States, with free loan services.
  • Nelnet is a federal student loan servicer, offering free loan services.

These servicers, some of the largest in the U.S., act as the middleman between you and the lender. Find out what you need to know about these servicers to avoid common problems.

FIND YOUR PRIVATE STUDENT LOANS

There is no national database for private student loans, so you might run into more difficulty when looking for information.

Begin your private student loan search by:

  1. Contacting your original lender: The lender may still hold your loans in-house. If not, they will be able to point you in the direction of the lender your loan was sold to.

  2. Contacting your financial aid office: If you do not know who your lender is, contact the financial aid office at the school you attended.

  3. Check your credit report: As a last step, check your credit report for outstanding student loans.

If you do not find the student loan on your credit report, contact your credit agency to determine how you can pull a credit inquiry without affecting your current credit score.

Did you know: Sallie Mae is one of the largest private student loan originators and services in the United States. They opened their doors in 1972 to service government-issued loans.

Sallie Mae became a private company in 2004 and split into two separate companies in 2014 (see Navient).

But keep in mind that a hard credit pull may drop your score by several points, and the inquiry will reflect on your credit report for about two years.

Now that you know how to find your student loan balance, keep reading to learn your options for paying them back.

REPAYMENT OPTIONS

You have several choices to repay your loans, starting with the Standard Repayment Plan.

Here, you begin repayment when your grace period, deferment or forbearance expires.

Don't know what a deferment or forbearance is? We've got you covered, keep reading.

You'll make standard payments and be out of debt in 10 years.
Of course, many borrowers cannot afford the standard payment and choose from other options:

  • Income Based Repayment (IBR): You must have Federal Direct Loans or Federal Family Education Loans (Stafford, Federal PLUS Loans, and Federal Consolidation Loans) to qualify for this plan.

    The amount of repayment is based on when you took out your loan.

    Loans taken out before July 1, 2014: Students pay 15% of their discretionary income. After 25 years of payments, any amount left over is forgiven.

    Loans taken out after July 1, 2014: Students pay 10% of their discretionary income. After 20 years of payment, any leftover amount is forgiven.

    As your income increases, so does your payment. The maximum payment is the amount of the Standard Repayment Plan's payment.

    The government will pay your interest on subsidized loans for the first 3 years. After that, the interest may get added to your principal balance.

    Luckily, this doesn't happen until your IBR payment equals the Standard Repayment payment.

    Here's an Exampe:
    You have $50,000 in student loans with an interest rate of 5%. Under a Standard Repayment Plan, this means you will owe a total of $63,640, including interest.

    Now let's say you enter the Income-Based Repayment plan with an adjusted income is $30,000. You'll start with a monthly payment of $148/month.

    After 25 years of payments on this plan, you will have paid a total of $44,662. The rest is forgiven at that point.

  • Pay as You Earn Repayment (PAYE): Fewer graduates will be eligible for this program because of date restrictions.

    You must be a new borrower after October 1, 2007. In other words, you must not have any student loans dating before this date. You must also have taken out an eligible loan after October 1, 2011.

    Under this plan, payments are 10% of your discretionary income. If you don't have an income right now, you don't make a payment. Your outstanding balance is forgiven after 20 years of payments.

    This loan's max payment also equals the Standard Repayment plan payment. Interest payback begins when you reach that amount.

    NOTE: You must reapply for the IBR and PAYE programs once every 12 months. Otherwise, the loans will resume at the Standard Repayment Amount.

  • Revised Pay as You Earn Repayment (REPAYE): This program is for those who don't fall into one of the above categories. There are no date restrictions. Only Parent PLUS loans and most private loans are excluded.

    Payments are 10% of your discretionary income. There is no cap on the payments, unlike the other plans we discussed thus far. As your income increases, so do your payments. This could make for some hefty payments if you become successful.

    Your outstanding balance is forgiven after 20 years of payment. Because there is no payment cap, you won't have any interest added to your principal balance.

  • Income Contingent Repayment (ICR):This is the ONLY repayment plan available for borrowers with Parent PLUS loans. To be eligible, the Parent PLUS loans must first be consolidated into a Direct Consolidation Loan.
    For the ICR plan, discretionary income = your adjusted gross income - 100% of the poverty level (instead of 150%).

    Your payment is 20% of your discretionary income OR payments based on a 12-year repayment plan, whichever is less. This payment may also exceed the Standard Repayment Plan monthly payment.

    The government does not subsidize any unpaid interest. 100% of the unpaid interest gets added to your loan balance annually. However, no more than 10% of the loan balance will be added.

Under all these plans, once you have successfully made the required 20 or 25 years of payments, your loans will be forgiven.

ALTERNATE REPAYMENT OPTIONS

Don't panic if repayment does not seem viable for you at this time. You may be eligible for options that delay or reorganize your payments or repayment status.

The IRS requires you to include any forgiven loan amounts as income. This means you'll be taxed on the forgiven amount. It still may be the better option, however. Your tax liability is often much lower than the amount forgiven.

  • Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): If you work for a government agency or nonprofit, you may be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

    • You MUST be enrolled in one of the four Direct Loan Program repayment plans to qualify.

    • You must work full-time and make 120 qualifying payments. Payments made before enrollment don't count as qualifying payments towards PSLF.

    • After 10 years of payments in any of the above plans, your loan balance may be forgiven.

    If you have Federal Perkins Loans and/or Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), you must consolidate them into a Direct Consolidated Loan in order to qualify for PSLF. And then you must make 120 payments towards the new consolidated loan.

    Want to know if you qualify for loan forgiveness? Fill out and submit this form to the department of education.

  • Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge: Perkins Loans are no longer offered. But if you took them out before the expiration, you can still be eligible for Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation.
    Look into this option before you consolidate your Perkins Loans. Once you consolidate, you may no longer be eligible.
    This forgiveness program can offer you 100% forgiveness in just 5 years. You get a fixed percentage of loans (plus interest) forgiven for each year of service. They are as follows:

    • 15% for the 1st year
    • 15% for the 2nd year (total 30%)
    • 20% for the 3rd year (total 50%)
    • 20% for the 4th year (total 70%)
    • 30% for the 5th year (total 100%)

    You must have taken out the Perkins Loan before September 30, 2017. And the loan can't be cancelled the same year it was disbursed. It's up to your school to decide if you qualify for forgiveness.

    A number of professions are eligible for this program, including teachers, nurses, firefighters, and law enforcement officers.

  • Employee Assistance Programs: Student Loan Repayment Plans (SLRPs) are gaining popularity as a company benefit offered by employers.

    SLRP options:

    • Employer pays the student loan off in full.
    • Employer pays a portion of the student loan.

    Check with your employer to find out if they offer the SLRP benefit, and what specific eligibility and benefit parameters they have in place.

    NOTE: Employer contributions paid toward employee tuition or student loans is considered taxable income by the United States government.

JOB-SPECIFIC REPAYMENT OPTIONS

  • Loan Forgiveness for Teachers: Teachers working at a low-income school for five consecutive years may qualify for loan forgiveness for teachers.

    • You must have state certification and have a license to teach in your state. Your loan cannot be in default, either.

    • Elementary school and middle school teachers may receive up to $5,000 in forgiveness. Teachers who specialize in math, science or special education may receive up to $17,500 in forgiveness.

  • Loan Forgiveness for Nurses: Nurses have a lot of forgiveness programs available to them.

    • Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program: Eligible for nurses, RNs, APRNs, and nurse educators who work in an eligible Critical Shortage Facility or teach in an eligible public or private nonprofit school of nursing.

      After 2 years of service, you can get 60% of loan repayment. After another year, you can get 25% more.

    • National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program: Provides loan repayment for health professionals working in medically underserved areas.

      This includes nurse practitioners and certified nurse-midwives. You can get up to $50,000 of repayment for a 2-year service.

  • Loan Forgiveness for Doctors: National Health Service Corps provides up to $50,000 towards your medical school debt for those serving in Health Professional Shortage Areas.

    Eligible fields include primary care medical, dental, and behavioral health professional.
    After your 2-year commitment, you can apply to continue your service in exchange for further loan forgiveness.

  • Loan Forgiveness for Military: These options are separated by branch of the armed services.

    • Army: The Student Loan Repayment Program offers active members 33.33% of their loan balance paid for each year of service, up to $65,000 for 3 years.
      You must request the Loan Payment Program before enlisting. Also, you must score at least a 50 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. Those in the Reserves can get 15% each year, up to $20,000.

    • Navy: The Student Loan Repayment Program offers Navy service members up to $65,000 over the course of 3 years.
      To qualify, you must have had the loan prior to enlisting in the Navy. Also, you must include your application for the Repayment Program prior to enlisting.

    • Air Force: The Student Loan Repayment Program is open for members of the Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps. You can get up to $65,000 over a 3-year period. This is paid directly to your student loan provider.

LOAN REFINANCE

Refinancing your student loans is one of the best money moves you can make. Why is that? It saves you money by saving on interest!

Finding the right lender can net you a lower interest rate. This means lower total payments overall. It also means a higher percentage of your payments towards tackling the principal, which means you pay less interest on the loan.

Of course, this is dependent on your credit and employment. It assumes you are in better financial shape today than the day you graduated. If so, you may be eligible to refinance.

Start with finding the best refinance options:

  • Low Interest Rate: The whole point in refinancing is to save money. You want the lowest interest rate, and you want it to be lower than what you pay now.

    Your personal rate varies based on your credit and income. Check the rates from several lenders within 14 days. This way, it will only count as one credit inquiry on your credit report.

  • Type of Interest Rate: Lenders offer fixed and variable interest rates. A fixed rate means you know exactly how much you will owe every month for the whole term of the loan.

    But if you know you can pay your debt off quickly (in the next few years), a variable rate may be beneficial. Their rates are often lower than the fixed rate option. This can save you more money in the end.

    However, the rate may increase over time, and your monthly payment amounts would increase. If you aren't sure how long you'll need to pay off your debt, stick with the fixed rate.

  • Fees: You don't have to pay an origination fee on a student loan refinance. Sometimes choosing a refinance option with an origination fee allows a lower rate, though.

    You'll have to determine where you see the greatest savings. Does the lower interest rate make up for the fee? Look at the big picture to make sure you get the most from the refinance.

  • Prepayment Penalties: In the future, you might decide to pay off your student loans early if you have the money. But you need to make sure your student loan company won't charge you a prepayment penalty for doing so.

    Most student loan companies do not do this—and none of the ones on our list does—but you should steer clear of those that do, since you might want to pay off your loans early.


What to Know Before Refinancing

Let's talk about the reasons you might consider refinancing your student loans, and if refinancing is right for you. Consider these questions:

1. Are there additional beneficial reasons to consider student loan refinance? Bringing several loans together into one loan can make it easier to manage payments.

Most student refinance loans don't have a prepayment penalty. You can get ahead by paying your loans off early. This means paying less interest in the end, which saves money.

Is student loan refinancing right for me? Before you refinance, ask yourself:

  • Have you considered federal loan repayment options? Federal repayment plans, loan consolidation, and forbearance may be options for you.

    Determine what you can afford. Look at your financial goals. Then decide if refinancing is the right choice. For example, if you are eligible for loan forgiveness, why refinance at all?

  • Will a refinance shorten your term? A lower interest rate doesn't do you any good if you take a longer term. A lower payment may sound appealing. However, if you stretch the payments out over 20 years rather than 10, you'll pay much more in the end.

    The longer you borrow the money, the longer you pay interest. This could mean a difference of thousands of dollars.

    Keep in mind that many refinance companies offer many repayment terms, such as 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years. Pick the shortest term for which you can easily afford the payments, which will provide you the biggest savings on interest over the life of the loan.

  • Will a refinance make your payments more affordable? Counterintuitively, a shorter term could make your payments unaffordable. It doesn't make sense to refinance if you can't afford the payments. A default is much worse than stretching your payments out for a longer term.

Common Refinancing Questions:

What's the difference between refinancing and consolidating?
Refinancing student loans gives you the option to find a better rate and term. Consolidating your federal student loans means lumping multiple loans into one. You pay a weighted average of all interest rates on your loans.

Consolidating doesn't usually save you money. It simply reorganizes your student debts. You can refinance both federal and private loans, but you can only consolidate federal student loans if they are part of a federal program.

Keep in mind that with consolidation, you may enter an income-driven repayment plan that could have up to a 25-year repayment period. If you decide to refinance, you will lose out on any federal loan benefits that you may have accrued, such as federal loan forgiveness.

What credit score do you need to get approved?
It goes without saying: the higher your score the better. Each lender has their own requirements. Basically, they don't want late payments, collections, or any type of default on your credit report.

The lenders we chose don't focus solely on your credit score, though it is certainly a factor. They look at your employment history, savings patterns, and potential for the future too.

How do you prove you can afford the refinance?
The lender will ask you for appropriate documents. Be prepared to show your last few pay stubs and tax returns.

Lenders will look for consistent income and employment over the last year or so. They don't base your approval solely on your income. But it does play a big role.

How do you qualify to refinance?
If you decide to refinance your student loans, there are some steps that you must take to qualify. The first step is to be prepared to answer questions such as: What loans do you have, what are the interest rates, and are you able to afford a monthly payment?

The second step is to visit one or more of the websites suggested above and enter your information. You'll then receive offers for loan refinancing. Make sure you read and understand the rates and terms of your offer(s).
Finally, accept the terms of your chosen loan refinance offer, and get on your way to lower student loan interest rates

DELAY REPAYMENT WITH A DEFERMENT

A deferment will postpone repayment of your federal student loans for six to 12 months at a time. You have 36 months throughout your loan repayment period for deferments.

In a deferment, the federal government covers subsidized interest. You are responsible for the interest accruing on unsubsidized loans.

Why would you choose a deferment?
A deferment is great to delay payments. Is your enrollment at least half-time? Are you entering a Graduate Fellowship Program?

If you find yourself unemployed, you can postpone your loans. Or if you are experiencing economic hardship. Perhaps you're in the Peace Corps or serving on active duty in the military.

Options are also available for programs for disabled persons.

DELAY REPAYMENT WITH A FORBEARANCE

A forbearance postpones repayment of your federal student loans for 12 months at a time. But you'll be responsible for the interest that accrues on all loans. Any unpaid interest accrued during the forbearance period will be added to the balance of your loans.

Why would you choose a forbearance?
A forbearance is good if you need to postpone payments. The two types are general and mandatory.

Here are a few questions to determine if and which forbearance is best:

  • Are my current financial issues temporary or long term?
  • Will a deferment be able to help instead?
  • Am I able to cut expenses?

General Forbearance: Your loan servicing company will determine this category. You may use a forbearance during times of financial difficulties.

Did you incur excessive medical expenses? Change in employment? Your loan servicer may find other acceptable reasons for a forbearance.

Mandatory Forbearance: Your loan servicer is required to grant a mandatory forbearance if you meet certain criteria:

  • Is the total amount you owe over 20 percent or more of your total gross income?
  • Do you serve in a medical or dental internship or residency program?
  • Are you a member of AmeriCorps or the National Guard?

Your lender may issue your mandatory forbearance for up to 12 months. This can be extended if eligibility continues beyond expiration.

Eligible for Teacher Loan Forgiveness? Apply for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Forbearance Request.

WHY YOU SHOULDN'T USE A DEFERMENT OR FORBEARANCE

The cons for both options are similar. Using these options without need will add to your loan terms. This will increase the amount that you must repay. Interest will be added onto all loans in a forbearance. Interest accrues on unsubsidized loans in a deferment.

Best Advice: If you can make payments, consider calling your servicer to cancel right away. This way you can get back into making payments without added interest.

You can postpone repayment of private student loans, even though the options vary from federal loans. Speak with your loan servicer about your options.

Private loan companies may offer deferments or forbearance. Are you:

  • Enrolled at least half-time?
  • Unemployed or under employed?
  • An active duty military member?
    Most of these forms are on your loan servicer user dashboard.

AVERAGE STUDENT'S STUDENT LOAN DEBT

Now that we've talked your repayment and payment deferral options, you might want to know how your loan debt compares to others. We have those numbers for you.

What is the average student loan payment?
The average student pays $351 per month. We've seen a 280% increase in student loan balances since 2005, but we've only seen a 50% increase in student payments.

How much student debt does the average student have?
The average graduate left school with $37,172 in student loan debt.

The total amount of student loan debt in the United States as of 2017 is $1.4 trillion. This is second only to mortgage debt, and is significantly more than the total credit card debt.

In the first quarter of 2017, borrowing for federal loans was at $136.3 billion, which is down 3% from 2016.

Common Questions About Student Loan Debt:

What is the average student loan repayment period?
The standard repayment period for federal student loans is 10 years or less and varies for private loans. If you make payments on your federal student loan for 10 years, it will be paid off!

But, with the various repayment options offered, the average student takes 21 years to pay off their student debt.

How many people are delinquent on their student loans?
According to U.S. Department of Education, 593,000 borrowers of the 5.2 million that entered repayment defaulted on their student loans. That's 11% of the total student loan borrowers.

What is the average cost of college tuition?
How much you pay for college tuition depends on where you live. Attending an in-state public college has its benefits. It costs an average of $7,110 to stay in state and attend a public school.

If you prefer a private school, get ready to pay much more. The average private school tuition is $32,400.
Cost of attendance will also depend on which state you go to college. In comparison, college grads in Utah can expect to have only $7,545 in debt, whereas students in

New Hampshire can expect to have roughly $27,167 in debt by graduation.

What percentage of college students have student loans?
Almost 70% of college students leave college with some type of loan. This number isn't as alarming as the amount of debt, though.
The percentage of college students with debt has risen modestly. The amount of debt they carry, though, has risen drastically.

BASIC STUDENT LOAN FACTS

Let's dig into some additional student loan ins and outs to help you understand the student loan process.

Can anyone get a student loan?
To a point, yes, anyone can get a student loan. How much you get depends on your circumstances. However, you do need to meet some basic qualifications:

  • You must be a citizen with a Social Security number (eligible noncitizens may qualify too)
  • You must have a high school diploma and enroll at least part-time in an accredited college
  • You must not have any defaulted federal loans
  • You must demonstrate financial need by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid

This criterion pertains to federal student loans. Private banks may provide private student loans as well. But they set their own criteria. They will generally look at your credit score and debt ratio to determine your eligibility.

How do you take out a student loan?
Any student who applies to a college should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The federal government uses this application to determine your need.

But your state and college financial aid departments use it as well. The form becomes available around October 1st each year. It is usually due by June of the following year.

How long is the grace period on student loans?
Generally, you have 6 months of no payments after graduation. Your standard payment begins during that 7th month. If you make other arrangements, this may change.

How is student interest calculated?
Student loan interest is compounded daily. On your loan papers, you'll see an annual interest rate. For simplicity's sake, let's say it says 5%. You would pay .0134% per day.

The easiest way to calculate your daily interest accrual is with this simple equation:

Total loan balance x interest rate / 365 days = daily interest rate*
*Remember, if you have different loans with different interest rates, this will need to be done with each loan.

How much can you get on a federal student loan?
Students may receive loans up to the total cost of attendance. This means tuition, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses. Here's a breakdown of each program:

  • Stafford loans for undergraduate dependents: $5,500 freshman year, $6,500 sophomore year, and $7,500 both junior and senior year.

  • Stafford loans for independent undergraduates: $9,500 freshman year, $10,500 sophomore year, $12,500 both junior and senior year.

  • PLUS loans for both undergraduates and graduates: Any amount left after any other financial aid options are exhausted.

Stafford loans can be subsidized or unsubsidized. The subsidized limits are lower than unsubsidized. As a freshman, you can have up to $3,500 in subsidized loans. The remaining $2,000 is unsubsidized.

How much can you get in private student loans?
Private student loans have a unique maximum. It's the cost of attendance minus any federal aid you receive. But you must qualify for these loans. Lack of federal aid isn't a guarantee of approval for private student loans.

How much money can a student borrow for graduate school?
The federal government considers graduate students to be independent. This means you qualify on your own. This could help increase the amount of financial aid you receive.

Today, graduate students can receive up to $20,500 in unsubsidized loans per year. You may receive a lifetime aggregate amount of $138,500.

If you require more than that, you can apply for a PLUS loan. Keep in mind that the DOE will perform a credit check for eligibility.

Is there a limit on the amount of student loans you can get?
Along with the yearly limits, there is an aggregate or lifetime limit for all loans. Undergraduates can borrow a maximum of:

  • $31,000 for dependent students
  • $57,500 for independent students

Graduate students, as we discussed above, can borrow up to $138,500 over their lifetime. Private student loans typically allow between $75,000 and $120,000 over a lifetime.

If you exceed your lifetime maximum, you can pay the loan balances down. You can then apply for further loans in the future.

What is a Stafford Loan?
When you talk about federal student loans, you are likely talking about Stafford Loans. They are the most popular federal financing option.

The loans are available to graduates and undergraduates. They offer fixed interest rates and a low origination fee. You can also receive subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loans.

BOTTOM LINE

Student loan repayment options are available, and servicers are in business to assist you.

Take advantage of any help available, especially if you cannot afford your student loan payments. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you save money and relieve stress by having a plan in place.

Know that your efforts will be worth the time you put in, and you'll see the horizon—plans for a future with well-managed or paid off student loans.

More from CreditDonkey:


How to Lower Student Loan Payments


How to Get Rid of Student Loans


Should I Consolidate Student Loans

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