Repaying Your Loans

One of the most important financial obligations after graduation is the repayment of federal student loan debts. It is critical to understand this obligation and the number of options available to manage and repay debt as your post-graduate lifestyle and financial circumstances evolve.

The information below is a starting point for establishing a favorable standing with your loan servicer. Click here to view our most recent handout that provides an overview of valuable exit counseling-related information.

Complete Exit Counseling

If you have borrowed one or more federal student loans while enrolled at TC, the federal government requires you to fulfill an exit counseling requirement (also referred to as an "exit interview") before repaying federal student loans. Exit counseling provides you with vital information necessary for the timely repayment of your student loans. All students need to complete exit counseling online, although we do hold in-person exit counseling sessions in May for those graduates who want direct contact with a counselor. Note that students who attend the in-persons session will still need to complete the online exit counseling module. You will receive an email from our office listing the times and dates of the in-person sessions. In-person attendance is purely optional, but we do recommend that you attend, if possible.

Students who are in a doctoral program but are earning a master's degree along the way must complete exit counseling upon the receipt of each degree. You will not be required to begin repaying your loans until you finish your final degree program at TC or until you drop below half-time enrollment status.

Directions for Exit Counseling

Log into studentloans.gov using your FSA ID. If you have not created an FSA ID, follow the appropriate links on studentloans.gov to do so. (Note that you do not receive your ID immediately; it typically takes several business days for the Dept. of Ed. to confirm your identity and issue the ID.) Click the "Complete Counseling" link in the center of the page, then click "Start" under the Exit Counseling heading. Follow the prompts and ensure that you select Teachers College as your school. We will recieve electronic confirmation from the Dept. of Ed. within three business days.


Students are encouraged to attend one of our in-house info sessions in the spring or read the Repaying Your Loans section on our website.

Selecting a Repayment Plan

Take control of your student loan debt by calculating your monthly payments and making a side-by-side comparison of your repayment plan options.

Standard Repayment Plan
Payments will be a fixed amount each month until the loan is paid in full.
Learn More.

Graduated Repayment Plan
Payments start out low but will increase over time.
Learn More.

Extended Repayment Plan
Payments can be a fixed or graduated amount, up to 25 years.
Learn More.

Income Based Repayment (IBR) Plan
Monthly payments are capped at an amount that is intended to be affordable based on your income and family size.
Learn More.

Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan
Monthly payments will be based on annual income (your Adjusted Gross Income as well as your spouse’s, if married), your family size, and the total amount of your outstanding Federal Direct Loans.
Learn More.

"Pay As You Earn" (PAYE) Repayment Plan & "Revised Pay As You Earn" (REPAYE) Repayment Plan
Monthly payments are capped at an amount that is intended to be affordable based on your income and family size.
Learn More.

Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan
Payments under this plan increase or decrease based on your annual income.
Learn More

Repayment Estimator
Use this repayment estimator to estimate the amount of your monthly loan payments and the annual salary required to manage them with minimal financial difficulty.

Loan Consolidation

Loan consolidation is another option that can streamline your payments, as it allows student borrowers to combine multiple federal educational loans into one loan with one monthly payment. Here are some important things to note about loan consolidation:

  • It lengthens the repayment up to 30 years and reduces your monthly payments.

  • In the long run, you will pay more interest.

  • Consolidated loans have a fixed interest rate that is calculated by using a weighted average of the loans being consolidated.

  • Consolidation is available with Direct Lending.

Learn more to see whether loan consolidation is right for you.

Avoid Delinquency

Take all the necessary precautions to avoid becoming delinquent on your loan(s). Delinquency occurs if you are 30 days late in making payments. After your loan(s) has been delinquent for 270 days, your loan(s) is in default and can result in the following consequences:

  • The entire balance (including late and collection fees) is due immediately.

  • Your eligibility for any additional federal financial student aid is lost until the default issue is resolved.

  • You lose the options of deferment and/or forbearance.

  • The federal government can take legal action against you.

  • Your wages may be garnished.

  • Your Social Security/disability income and/or your entire state/federal tax refund may be seized.

  • Eligibility for certain state and federal jobs may be impacted.

  • Your credit will be negatively impacted.

If you know that you may miss a payment, contact your lender immediately to discuss possible solutions, such as deferment or forbearance.

Deferment

Deferment is a period in which repayment of the principal balance is temporarily postponed if you meet certain requirements. For the Federal Perkins and Direct Subsidized Stafford loans, you do not have to pay principal or interest during deferment. For the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford and Federal Graduate PLUS loans, you are responsible for the interest that accrues during the deferment period. The most common reasons for deferment include:

  • Return to school for at least half-time attendance (six [6] credit hours or the equivalent per semester)

  • Loss of job or inability to find a job

  • Extreme economic hardship

  • On active duty during war, national emergency or military operation

Forbearance

Forbearance is a temporary postponement or reduction of payments for a period of time because you are experiencing financial difficulty due to hardship or illness. Forbearance may be granted at your loan servicer's discretion. If you are not eligible for a deferment, your lender may grant you forbearance for a limited and specific period of time. Interest continues to accrue on all loans while you are in forbearance. You will be responsible for paying this interest. When you resume making payments at the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid interest will be capitalized.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

The PSLF Program is intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs. Through this program, borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance of their Direct Loans after they have made 120 qualifying payments on those loans while employed full time by certain public service employers. View additional details regarding the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Cancellation

The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue in the teaching profession. Through this program, if you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in certain elementary and secondary schools and educational service agencies that serve low-income families, and if you meet other qualifications, you may be eligible for forgiveness. View additional details regarding Teacher Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Cancellation.

Loan Discharge/Forgiveness

There are some situations in which you may be eligible for loan discharge, cancellation or forgiveness. Some of these situations tend to be of an extreme nature, including total disability, someone fraudulently taking out the loan in your name, or death. If you are eligible, your student loans will be forgiven, and you will not have to repay them.  Learn more about Loan Discharge/Forgiveness/Cancellations.

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