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Virtual Advisor

Repaying Your Student Loans

Regulations require all students who have borrowed a federal loan to participate in loan exit counseling. 

Loan counseling:

  • Is required before you withdraw, graduate, or drop below half-time attendance (even if you plan to transfer to another school);
  • Helps you understand your rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower;
  • Provides useful tips and information to help you manage your loans.

You can complete your federal Direct loan exit counseling at This is the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)’s website.  NSLDS is the U.S. Department of Education's central database for federal student aid. NSLDS receives data from schools, guaranty agencies, the direct loan program, and other Department of Education programs. NSLDS Student Access provides a centralized, integrated view of Title IV loans and grants so that recipients of Title IV aid can access and inquire about their Title IV loans and/or grant data.

If you borrowed a federal Perkins loan, you can complete your loan exit counseling on our Perkins loan servicer Unisa’s website.  Once on their home page you will need to click on the LOG IN/SIGN UP button in the upper right corner of the screen.

If you borrowed alternative loans, also called private student loans, please contact your lender(s).

Navigating the path to successful student loan repayment

Your investment in higher education will pay off in many ways—widened career opportunities, increased intellectual fulfillment, and an enhanced quality of life. If student loans were a part of your college funding strategy, you’ll start repaying them soon.  Here are ten things to do before you make your first student loan payment.  If you follow these helpful tips along your path to repayment and you could be well on your way to a bright financial future.

1. Know what you owe. Review your federal student loan borrowing history by completing your exit counseling at Here you will be able to view all of your federal student loans and to find contact information for your loan servicer(s). Visit the Department of Education’s calculators and interest rate web page at  to estimate your monthly payment amount.

2. Make sure your loan servicer knows how to contact you. Inform your servicer if you change your street address, your email address, and/or your telephone number.

3. Make your life easier - sign up to manage your account online at your loan servicer’s website. You will be able to view your loans, make a payment and view payment history, update your contact information, and send your servicer an email and view your correspondence.

4. Sign up to receive email communications at your loan servicer’s website. You’ll save paper, reduce clutter, and receive important information about your loans.

5. Save money using automatic debit.* You may qualify for an interest rate reduction when you make on-time payments by automatic debit. Apply online by logging into your account at your loan servicer’s website. Your loan payments are automatically deducted from your bank account.  This ensures payments are made on time. 

6. Select the repayment plan that’s right for you. Research repayment options at the Department of Education’s repayment plans website Federal student loans have a wide range of repayment plan options.  There is the standard repayment plan - you’ll pay less interest over time under this plan than you would under other plans.  The extended repayment plan - payments may be fixed or graduated. The graduated repayment plan - starts out with low monthly payment amounts and increases, usually every two years.  Or several income driven repayment plans - based on your income and other factors. You must meet eligibility requirements and annually recertify. Learn more about income driven plans at  If you have more than one loan servicer you may want to consider consolidating your loans so you have just one monthly payment to one servicing center.  You can learn more about loan consolidation at

7. Make on-time payments. This helps to build and maintain a good credit rating.

8. Consider paying a little extra each month. Paying just a few extra dollars of principal each month can go a long way toward helping you pay off your loans faster and reduce the interest you pay.

9. Seek help at the first sign of financial difficulty. Contact your loan servicer. They’ve helped millions of people successfully resolve past-due accounts and avoid default, and they can help you, too.

10. Use deferment and forbearance only as a last resort.** Postponing payments can cost you if unpaid accrued interest is added to the loan balance. Use deferment and forbearance only if absolutely necessary.

* Recurring automatic monthly payments must be successfully deducted from designated bank account for rate reduction to apply. Benefit suspended during periods of forbearance and certain deferments.

** During periods of deferment, the federal government pays the interest on subsidized federal loans and you are responsible for paying the interest on unsubsidized federal loans and private loans. During periods of forbearance, you are responsible for paying the interest on subsidized federal loans, unsubsidized federal loans, and private loans.

Contact the Financial Aid Office if you have any questions. We are here to help.