Delinquency Consequences

Falling behind on student loan payments can be easy. Take action before catching up becomes too hard.

Being late on a federal student loan can:

  • Make it hard for you to get a car loan, a mortgage, or even an apartment lease by severely damaging your credit.
  • Allow your lender to charge interest on your unpaid interest, increasing the amount you owe.
  • Leave you open to additional collection fees, having part of your paycheck seized, and other consequences of default.

You Have Options

If your Stafford or Grad PLUS loan is past due—or you are worried it will be soon—know that you have options.

  • First, try to make standard repayment work—you will pay off your loan the fastest and with the least amount in interest.
  • If you cannot make standard payments, reduce your payments with one of several repayment options.
  • If making any payment is not possible, try to temporarily suspend your payments with a deferment or forbearance. Just remember that choosing this option may allow additional interest to accrue on your loans.

If you have Perkins, institutional, private, state, or another type of student loan, your repayment options will vary. To learn more about your specific situation, contact your servicer.

Remember, you are not alone. Contact American Student Assistance® (ASA) as soon as you realize that you cannot make your payments. Options can be tougher to take advantage of as your loan becomes more delinquent.

For a detailed look at how late payments can affect you, see our student loan delinquency timeline.

Partial Payments

Some people may advise you to send a partial payment if you are late on a loan. That will reduce the amount you owe—and show your lender you are trying—but it won’t bring your loan out of delinquency. In fact, making only partial payments can still eventually put your loan into default.