I’m not afraid to admit that being a college senior is a little frightening (okay, slight understatement-it’s extremely frightening!) As the Class of 2013 prepares to say goodbye to the comforts of our college community and say hello to the real world, we are faced with many realities. Where will I live? How am I going to find a job? Will I make ends meet? Will I be happy?
And with all these new exciting challenges and responsibilities, one of the last things on most of our minds is repaying our student loans. Yet it’s one of our responsibilities and we should be prepared for when the first bill arrives in the mail.
I will be honest in saying that this repayment process is a little intimidating, and before writing this post I was at a loss of where to begin. Luckily, the Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) has tools available to walk soon-to-be grads through the loan repayment process:
- Exit Counseling: Recently redesigned to be more interactive, Exit Counseling provides important information to student borrowers who are preparing to begin student loan repayment. Exit counseling is required when you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, so talk to the financial aid office at your school about completing it.
- Federal Loan Repayment Plans: Understanding the details of repayment can save you time and money. Find out when repayment starts, how to make your payment, repayment plan options, what to do if you have trouble making payments, and more!
- Repayment Estimator: Federal Student Aid recently launched a Repayment Estimator that allows you compare your monthly student loan payment under different repayment plans to help you figure out which option is right for you. Once you log-in, it will automatically pull in all of your federal student loan information so you can compare repayment plans based on your specific situation.
So with all of these great resources, I’ve found that things are clearer, and not quite as scary. Class of 2013 we are about to embark on a new adventure, best of luck to each and every one of you!
Kelsey Donohue is a senior at Marist College (N.Y.), and an intern in ED’s Office of Communications and Outreach