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Successfully repaying different types of loans is all about finding payment amounts that work for you. If you are behind on your payments, look into these options—they could make repaying your Stafford or Grad PLUS loans easier.
- The normal schedule—and the one in which you pay the least interest overall—is standard repayment.
- If you need to lower your monthly payments, you can do so by stretching your repayment period with extended repayment.
- You can also pay less now without extending your repayment period by using graduated repayment.
- If you don’t make enough money to cover your payments, you may be eligible for income-contingent repayment (for Direct Loan borrowers) or income-sensitive repayment (for Federal Family Education Loan Program borrowers).
- If you have high student loan debt and/or a low income, the right plan for you may be income-based repayment.
- Combine all your loans into a single loan—with a single payment—with a consolidation loan.
If you're struggling with Parent PLUS loans, you can choose from any of the plans above except income-based repayment or income-contingent repayment. However, you can become eligible for income-contingent repayment by consolidating your Parent PLUS loans.
You can only change your repayment plan once a year (unless you're switching to income-based repayment). Also, for all federal student loans, there is no penalty for paying off your loan before it is due.
Repaying Perkins Loans
Repayment for Perkins loans lasts 10 years, but you may be able to work with your school to establish a different repayment plan. In addition:
- You can apply for graduated repayment, but the U.S. Department of Education must approve it.
- You also can postpone payments, including through Perkins-specific deferments.
Contact your school to find out more.
Repaying Institutional, Private, and State Loans
Repayment options vary for institutional and private loans.
- Institutional loans: Contact your school to learn about your repayment options.
- Private loans: Contact your lender to find out your repayment options.
- State loans: Contact your lender or state office of education to find out your repayment options.
If you do not know if you have institutional, private, or state loans, review your free annual credit report.