If you are specializing in nursing, you may be able to borrow, or have already borrowed, a Nursing Student Loan (NSL). Although these loans are part of the federal student loan program, they are very different from Stafford loans.
|Where Do I Send My Payments?||Payment Start Date||Interest Rate||Postponements Available?|
|Usually a company contracted by your school. Contact your financial aid office to learn more.||1 year after you graduate or fall below half-time enrollment.*||5%||Yes, under certain conditions.|
*For loans received before November 1, 1971, the grace period begins when you dropped below full-time enrollment.
Where Do I Find Out What I Owe?
The best way to find out how much you owe is by contacting your servicer, the company that sends you your student loan bill. They are usually contracted by your school so your school's financial aid or business office should be able to get you the contact information you need. However, you can also check your free credit report as it will list all of your loan holders.
Can I Consolidate My NSLs?
Yes, if you combine it with at least one other education loan with Direct loans. However, consolidation is not right for everyone. Depending on your situation, you can lose specific NSL benefits by consolidating. You may also combine your Nursing Student Loans into one payment under certain conditions. Find out more about this type of consolidation on the U.S. Department of Education's website.
Can I Change My Monthly Payment Amount?
NSLs have fewer repayment options than other federal student loans, but they do offer a couple of repayment options for you to choose from:
- Graduated repayment: Payments start small and grow over time. You do not have the option to extend your payments beyond 10 years.
- Standard repayment: Equal payments every month, usually for 10 years (120 payments).
Option 1: Deferment: The great thing about using deferment is that interest doesn't continue to build up while you are postponing your payments. It also doesn't start the clock on your 10-year repayment period. However, you do have to meet certain criteria to be able to use this option.
- Up to 3 years if you are serving in active military duty.
- Up to 3 years if you are serving in the Peace Corps.
- Up to 10 years if you are enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate nursing program or pursuing advance professional training in nursing or training to become a nurse anesthetist.
Option 2: Forbearance: If you don't qualify for deferment, there are some good reasons to use forbearance.
- You enroll in a new non-nursing program after you've graduated from your nursing school and you've used up all your grace period time.
- You've switched programs and are no longer studying nursing.
- You no longer work in the nursing profession.
- You experience financial hardship (due to prolonged illness, unemployment, or a natural disaster).
However, this option should be your last resort—here's why:
- Interest will accrue on your loan.
- Your 10-year repayment period will begin—this means that your payments will be higher once your forbearance period ends.
What Happens If I Miss Any Of My NSL Payments?
Unlike Stafford loans, missing even one or two payments can put your NSL into default. This means that the following could happen:
- Your school may require that you pay the entire amount of your loan at once.
- Other collections charges may apply.
- Your wages may be garnished.
- Your school may hold all of your academic transcripts and recommendation letters.