Debt and Default Management

Managing a student loan is serious business, but it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. The following FAQs should answer most of your questions and provide resources to help you while you’re in school, during a leave of absence or withdrawal, and after completion of your program.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I consolidate my student loans?

    If you are expecting to borrow a Direct Loan for this coming year and also have Stafford Loans from prior years, you will have at least two lenders to repay when you graduate: your selected private lender and the federal government.

    The Direct Lending Consolidation program offers a way for you to combine both loans into one consolidation loan and make just one payment. This loan consolidation program will be available to you once you leave school or drop to less than half time enrollment, and must begin repayment.

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  • How do I get help with my loan problems?

    If you are having a problem with your federal student loan, contact the FSA Ombudsman at the U.S. Department of Education. The FSA Ombudsman is dedicated to helping students resolve disputes and other problems with federal student loans.

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  • How do I repay my student loans?

    Your loan servicer will provide information about repayment and will notify you of the date your loan repayment begins. It is very important that you make your full loan payment on time either monthly (which is usually when you'll pay) or according to your repayment schedule.

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  • How do I track and manage my loans?

    To keep track of your student loans or to contact your loan servicer for repayment, log onto to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243; TTY 1-800-730-8913). The Personal Identification Number (PIN) you used as your electronic signature for the FAFSA can also be used to gain access to NSLDS.

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  • How much should I borrow?

    We strongly encourage borrowers to carefully weigh the need for loans and to borrow only what is actually needed. We encourage you to estimate your education costs and understand your repayment obligations prior to borrowing.

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  • What if I default on my student loans?

    Default means you failed to make payments on your student loan according to the terms of your promissory note – the binding legal document you signed at the time you took out your loan. In other words, you failed to make your loan payments as scheduled. Your school, the financial institution that loaned you the money or that now owns your loan, your loan guarantor, and the federal government all can take action to recover the money you owe.

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  • What is loan default?

    Loan default is failure to repay a loan according to the terms of the Master Promissory Note (MPN). There can be serious legal consequences for student loan defaulters.

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  • What repayment plans are available to me?

    When it comes time to start repaying your student loan(s), you can select a repayment plan that’s right for your financial situation. Generally, you'll have from 10 to 25 years to repay your loan, depending on which repayment plan you choose.

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  • When should I begin repaying my loans?

    After borrowers graduate, leave school or drop below half-time enrollment, they will have several months before payments are due on loans that were made for that period of study. This is called the “grace period.”

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