Explore Your Student Loan Repayment Options at #AskFAFSA Office Hours

“While it’s never been more important to have a degree, a certificate or an industry-recognized credential — it’s also never been more expensive.

About two-thirds of college graduates borrow to go to school, and on average they’re graduating with more than $26,000 in debt. In an economy still recovering from the worst downturn since the Great Depression, getting a job is hard enough, but paying back those loans is daunting.”   –   Arne Duncan

You are not alone. There are millions of student loan borrowers just like you who can almost all agree on one thing: repaying student loans is not easy. Especially in these economic times, making your student loan payments on time each month can be difficult, but there are resources available to help you stay on track.

FAFSATo help you learn about these options, this month’s #AskFAFSA Office Hours will highlight real student loan borrowers in a variety of fields who are using various resources (some more out of the box than others) to repay their student loans. Here’s who you’ll be hearing from:

  • Ian (^I): After graduating law school, Ian decided to make public service a career. But with over $160,000 federal student loan debt, Ian would have had to pay over $1,800 per month on the standard loan repayment plan, over $1,000 on the standard consolidation plan and the extended plan, a bit more still. That’s quite a hefty amount for a public servant. Ian began exploring his options. After consolidating six loans into one payment and enrolling in income-based repayment, Ian’s monthly payment now stands at $375. What’s more, he is participating in public service loan forgiveness.
  • Tiffany(^T): In May 2012, Tiffany graduated from the University of South Carolina (USC) with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations. While at USC, Tiffany was able to pay in-state tuition because of a reciprocity agreement between South Carolina and her home state of Maryland. However, she still needed to borrow federal student loans to help fund her education. Upon graduation, she took a job with Teach for America, a national teach corps of recent college graduates who commit two years to teach and to effect change in underresourced urban and rural public schools. As a math teacher in New Orleans, Tiffany will have a modest salary, so during her time with Teach for America she plans to receive forbearance, which is a temporary postponement or reduction of payments for a period of time. If she continues to teach, she also plans on taking advantage of some of the loan cancellation options available to teachers.
  • Joe(^J): Did you hear about the Harvard Business School graduate who paid off $90k in student loans in seven months? That’s Joe. After graduating with his MBA and $95k in student loans ($101k including accumulated interest) at the age of 26, Joe decided to do everything in his power– short of lying, cheating, and stealing–to pay down this debt in ten months. His strategy was definitely out of the ordinary, from selling his beloved motorcycle to skipping a trip home for Christmas to only going on cheap dates, Joe managed to pay off his student loan debt 3 months ahead of his already tight schedule. While the route Joe took to repay his student loans is not typical, his experience demonstrates that if you educate yourself about the student loan process and make responsible choices about funding your education, a student loan can be a great investment in your future.

Our guests have learned some valuable lessons throughout the student loan repayment process, but they are not licensed financial advisors and the repayment options they are taking advantage of may not be right for you*.  On Tuesday, June 26,at 6pm ET, join Ian, Tiffany and Joe for #AskFAFSA Office Hours, where they will be taking your questions on borrowing responsibly and repaying student loans.

Here’s how it works:

    • Have questions about the student loan repayment process? You can start submitting your questions on Twitter today. Be sure to include the #AskFAFSA hashtag in your tweets. We’ll continue to take questions throughout the week and during the live event.
    • On Tuesday, June 26, at 6pm ET, follow @FAFSA or the #AskFAFSA hashtag on Twitter to join the conversation. Ian, Tiffany and Joe will be available to answer your questions live.
    • Can’t make the live session? A summary of #AskFAFSA Office Hours, including the full Q&A, will be posted on Storify and the ED.gov blog following the event.

*Our guests will be speaking about their personal experiences and will be signing their tweets with their respective initial. They are not licensed financial advisors and they do not not claim to be experts. Their opinions are their own and do not reflect the opinion of the U.S. Department of Education or its officers or employees and are not an official or personal endorsement of any views expressed or product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying U.S. Department of Education endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service. Any references to institutions, programs, activities, commercial entities, products, and services that remain on Federal Student Aid social media accounts are those of the individual users.



  1. I want to take one semester off from college to save for an international semester.
    Will my Perkins loan be called due or can I inform someone of my intentions? I would like to preserve my option to begin payments when my college experience is completed in the next two years but I need to save more to have an international experience happen. Does someone know the rules on a semester break from school for saving?

  2. There was a link that was recently sent to me to fill out. Somehow it was lost. Is there anyway the link can be sent again to my email address. I would like to apply for the consolidation loan before the deadline of 06/30/12.

    Thank you

    • Deborah – check out our special consolidation page here.

      Cameron Brenchley
      Office of Communications and Outreach

  3. I withdrew from Shaw University Divinity School prior to the start of classes and prior to the end of the drop add period. I did not complete my Registration for classe. I am attempting to enroll into another Divinity program for the fall and found out that Shaw took 14% of my loan from the spring semester and return the remainded. Is this not illegal and what can I do. Thank you.

  4. This posting is complete nonsense!

    Example #3:

    The Wall Street Journal article featured on Yahoo didn’t even have the integrity to say how much income “joe” was taking in or how wealthy is family was. “Joe” Mihalic had a “low-six-figure salary.” A “low-six-figure salary” could mean $200,000 to $400,000 so yes, if someone lives at home or with a friend, they could wipe out a $90,000 student loan in seven months.

    The fact that The Wall Street Journal wrote the story, and that “Joe” went to Harvard Business School, and that institutions keep mentioning this atypical repayment “success” suggests that there is a hidden agenda.

    Public service loan forgiveness or loan cancellation options still mean that taxpayers pay the bill. I personally don’t mind taxpayers paying for a public college but I don’t want to enrich a private or for-profit college.

    • On what planet does “low 6 figures” mean $200,000? How about reading his blog and then forming an opinion instead of just relying on the Yahoo article. His pre-tax salary was $106,000 and later jumped to $109,000 because he got a raise in March. After taxes, his salary is something like $75,000 which is less than the amount he had outstanding on his loans.

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