Federal Loan Repayment

Federal Loan Repayment 

If you are financing part of your Teachers College degree with federal student loans, then you will need a plan to repay the money that you borrowed. You have many options for repayment, and we can help you find a plan that works best for your situation. 

Our goal is to help you understand your responsibilities and options for loan repayment so that you are prepared to manage the repayment process after you graduate from your program at Teachers College.  

How to Repay Your Loans

If you take out federal loans, then you are required to complete student loan exit counseling after you earn your degree and before repayment starts. Loan exit counseling will help set you up for success. 

If you are in a Doctoral program that includes a Master's degree, you will complete exit counseling after you earn each degree. Your repayment will not start until you finish your final degree program at Teachers College, or until you drop below half-time enrollment.

How to Complete Exit Counseling

To fulfill your exit counseling requirement, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the Exit Counseling section of the studentaid.gov website. 
  2. Select “Log In To Start” to the right-hand side of “I am a Graduate or Professional Student”, and use your FSA ID credentials to log into your account.
  3. Follow the prompts and select Teachers College as your school. 
  4. Complete the required steps in the exit counseling system. We will receive electronic confirmation from the Department of Education within three business days of your completion.

Note: If you also accepted the Federal TEACH Grant during your enrollment at TC, you must complete the TEACH Grant Exit Counseling requirement.

There are several repayment plans open to you. If you consider various plans, you can compare what your monthly payments would be for one plan versus another. We can help you compare plans so that you feel more confident in your final choice.

Standard Repayment Plan

Payments are a fixed amount each month until the loan is paid in full. Read more about standard repayment plans on the studentaid.gov website.

Graduated Repayment Plan

Payment amounts start off lower and increase over time. Read more about graduated repayment plans on the studentaid.gov website.

Extended Repayment Plan

Payments can be a fixed or graduated amount, up to 25 years. Read more about extended repayment plans on the studentaid.gov website.

Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan

Monthly payments are set to 10% of discretionary income, up to 25 years. Read more about the SAVE repayment plan on the studentaid.gov website.

Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Plan

Monthly payments are set to 10% of discretionary income, up to 20 years. Read more about the PAYE repayment plan on the studentaid.gov website.

Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan

For loans first borrowed after July 1, 2014: Monthly payments are set to 10% of discretionary income, up to 20 years.

For loans borrowed before July 1, 2014: Monthly payments are set to 15% of discretionary income, up to 25 years.

Read more about the IDR repayment plans on the studentaid.gov website.

Income-Contigent Repayment (ICR) Plan

Monthly payments are set to 20% of discretionary income, up to 25 years. Read more about the ICR repayment plan on the studentaid.gov website.

Use the federal government’s repayment estimator to gauge how much your monthly loan payments could be. The website allows you to choose multiple options and indicate what your annual salary would need to be in order to manage payments with minimal financial difficulty.

Ways to Avoid Financial Trouble

Loan consolidation streamlines your payments by combining multiple loans into one loan with one monthly payment. There are potential benefits and drawbacks to loan consolidation:

  • Often reduces your monthly payments
  • Access to Income-Driven Repayment Plans and Forgiveness Options
  • Offers a fixed interest rate
  • Can result in a longer repayment period with more interest payments
  • Losing out on certain borrower benefits 

Visit the loan consolidation section of the studentaid.gov website to read more information.

Loan delinquency, or falling behind on payments, can become a major problem if your enrollment level drops below half-time, or if you experience difficult life events. Your loan can become delinquent the first day after you miss a student loan payment. Here are some ways that you can avoid becoming delinquent.

Deferment means that your loan repayment is temporarily postponed if you meet certain requirements. The most common reasons for deferment include:

  • Being enrolled in graduate school on at least at least half-time or the equivalent
  • Loss of job, or inability to find a job
  • Extreme economic hardship
  • Serving in the military service on active duty during war, or a national emergency or military operation

If you took out Federal Perkins or Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans, you do not have to pay principal or interest during a deferment period. If you took out Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford or Federal Graduate PLUS loans, you are responsible for paying the interest that accrues during a deferment period. 

You must take certain steps in order to defer your loan officially. Learn more about deferments.

If you are not eligible for a deferment, your lender may grant you forbearance for a specific period of time. Forbearance is when your loan payments are postponed or reduced because you are experiencing financial difficulty due to hardship or illness. Forbearance is granted at your loan servicer's discretion. Learn more about forbearance.

The interest for your Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan will accrue while you are in school and during your repayment period. Therefore, you should pay any interest that accrues, whenever possible, to avoid capitalization. Any unpaid interest incurred is capitalized resulting in an increase to the outstanding principal balance on your loan. Then, your interest is recalculated based on that higher principal balance, which means you’ll pay more in your loans over time. In some cases, this can also cause an increase to your monthly payment.

We want to help you avoid default whenever possible, and we know that sometimes unexpected things happen. If you lose your job, or experience another major change in finances, contact your lender immediately. They can suggest options such as changing your repayment plan, adjusting your payment due date, or getting a deferment or forbearance. These options are often better for your financial situation than default.  

If you become delinquent on your student loans, your loan will be considered in default. The consequences of a student loan default can include:

  • The lender requests immediate payment in full for the entire balance, including late and collection fees
  • You become ineligible for any additional federal financial student aid
  • You are no longer eligible to pursue options such as deferment or forbearance as well as other benefits like choosing a repayment plan
  • The federal government can take legal action against you
  • Your wages may be garnished
  • Your Social Security or disability income, and/or your entire state or federal tax refund may be seized
  • You may not be eligible to work in certain state and federal jobs
  • Your credit history will be negatively impacted

Whenever possible, try to avoid defaulting on your loans. Your lender is the best person for you to contact for help.

Explore Loan Forgiveness Options

Some federal loans can be forgiven in special circumstances, depending on the type of loan. 

Type of Program

How it Works

Resources to Learn More

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program motivates people to work in public service on a long-term basis. 

PSLF qualifies you for the forgiveness of your remaining loan balance after you make 120 qualifying payments on those loans while employed full-time at an eligible public service employer. 

View additional details regarding the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program on the studentaid.gov website.

The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is meant to encourage you to enter and continue in the teaching profession. 

You may be eligible for loan forgiveness if you participate in this program and meet other qualifications. Your work requirements will include teaching full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in certain elementary and secondary schools and educational service agencies that serve low-income families. 

See additional details regarding Teacher Loan Forgiveness on the studentaid.gov website.

Your federal loans can be discharged, canceled, or forgiven in certain extreme situations.

Situations can include total disability, identity theft (such as someone fraudulently taking out the loan in your name), or death.

Learn more about Loan Discharge, Forgiveness, and Cancellations on the studentaid.gov website.

Additional Repayment Resources

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