If you have federal student loans, you'll automatically be enrolled in standard repayment after your grace period ends. This means you'll be required to pay the same amount every month for 10 years (120 payments). If you make all 120 payments on time, your loans will be completely repaid at the end of that period.
Here's how standard repayment works:
- You'll be placed into standard repayment once you finish your grace period.
- Repayment lasts 10 years (120 payments), and your monthly payments will be the same amount each month.
- If you can't afford the monthly payments, you may be able to choose from a number of other options to make them more manageable.
- Your monthly payment amount may be higher under standard repayment than with another repayment option, but this plan generally costs you less in interest in the long run.
Stacking It Up
Here's what your monthly payments could look like under standard repayment compared to other plans:
With those large monthly payments, standard repayment puts you on a schedule to repay your loans relatively quickly. Using a different repayment plan to reduce those payments may look good, but that may let more interest build up—drastically increasing the total cost of your loan.
The repayment period will vary for each repayment plan. To come up with the numbers above, we used the following information:
|Original Amount Owed||$35,000|
Changing Your Repayment Plan
If you've decided that you definitely need to lower your monthly payment, then take the following steps:
- Step 1: Review your repayment options. Depending on the type of student loan you have, your options may vary. If you need forms to apply for an income-driven repayment option, a repayment postponement option, or loan forgiveness, go to our easy-to-use forms page.
- Step 2: Call your loan servicer. They may be able to make the change for you over the phone—or you may need to fill out a form or take other steps to provide them with additional information.
Not sure who your servicer is? Visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®) to find all of your federal student loans information, including the name of your servicer.