Working with lenders
Managing your loans and lenders
Multiple lenders, different loan types and different payment due dates . . . student loans are one area of life where you have to be organized. Otherwise, you might mix up payments or worse, miss one.
You can create a tracking sheet on your computer (follow this link to a worksheet we created for you), or chart it all on a piece of paper. Whatever system you use, be sure to keep track of these key things for each of your student loans.
- Loan type
- Payment due date
- Payment amount
- Where to send the check
- Your lender’s online account information
Synchronize your due dates
Most lenders will change your payment due date. All you have to do is ask them. If you’re having trouble remembering when to pay, you may be able to have your loans due on the same day. If you need to balance your cash flow, consider adjusting the due date of your student loan payment to line up with your paychecks.
Call your lender to see if you can change your due dates.
Sign up for automatic payment
With automatic payments you don’t have to remember when to make your payments or where to send them. Your lender debits your checking or savings account automatically. Your lender may even give you a 0.25% interest rate cut just for signing up.
But be careful: if your account doesn’t have sufficient funds when your lender tries to make the automatic withdrawal, you could get hit with late fees and charges for insufficient funds.
Check with your lender to set up automatic payments.
Find out how they apply extra payments
Making extra payments is a good way to reduce your balance and save on interest payments, but don’t assume how the payment will be applied to your account.
Contact your lender to discuss the options.
Know what your lender is required to do for you
And what they aren’t required to do. If you qualify for a deferment—
because you’re in school or unemployed—your lender is required to give it to you if you meet the eligibility requirements. If you don’t qualify for a deferment, you may qualify for a forbearance. Ask your lender for more information.
Your lender is required to:
- Honor your grace period
- Grant you a deferment—if you qualify
- Grant you certain mandatory forbearances—if you qualify
Your lender is not required to:
- Grant you a hardship forbearance
- Change your due dates
- Offer you interest rate discounts for automatic payment
Remember: lenders won’t necessarily give you a deferment or a forbearance unless you ask for it. Even if you qualify, you may still have to apply.
Use our Deferment eligibility checker to see if you qualify for a deferment.