If you can't afford to make monthly payments on standard repayment, you can stretch your repayment period to as long as 25 years with extended repayment—and make smaller payments.
Not every federal student loan borrower is eligible to use extended repayment. To qualify, you must have borrowed at least $30,000 in loans through either the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) or Direct Loan program. In addition, if you took out your oldest loan before October 7, 1998, you cannot use this option.
If you qualify, here's how extended repayment works:
- Your monthly payments are lowered, but you’ll make them for longer.
- Depending on how much you borrowed, you could have up to 25 years to repay your student loan (300 payments).
- If you don't qualify for income-based repayment or income-contingent repayment, extended repayment is a good alternative.
Stacking It Up
Here's what your monthly payments could look like under extended repayment compared to other plans:
Since extended repayment gives you more time to repay, you'll likely wind up paying more interest over the life of the loan—which means more money overall, compared to other plans (see graph below). If you need to use this plan, you can always save yourself some money by extending your payments by a few years instead of stretching it to the maximum of 25.
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.
- 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.