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When to Start Paying Your Lender

Find out When Your First Payment Is Due

Most federal loans have a grace period. The length of the grace period varies based on the type of loan(s) you have.

Contact your servicer(s) to find out the specifics on your loan(s) so you don't miss that first payment. If you don't know who your servicer(s)/lender(s) is, go to the Federal Student Aid (FSA) website, which is the central database for all federal student loan information.

  • Loan Types

    Each loan type has its own interest rate, grace period and repayment period.

    Loan Type Interest Grace Period Repayment Period
    Federal Direct Stafford
    - Subsidized
    - Unsubsidized
    Fixed rate
    - Subsidized: *4.66% for undergraduate (As of 7/1/2012, no new Subsidized Staffords are made for graduate students)
    - Unsubsidized: *4.66% for undergraduate; 6.21% for graduate/professional
    6 months 10-25 years
    Federal Perkins Loan *5% 9 months Up to 10 years
    Federal Direct PLUS Loan *7.21% 6 months 10-25 years
    Federal Consolidation Loan - Fixed interest rate for the life of the loan, rates are based on a weighted average of the interest rates on the loans being consolidated NA Up to 30 years
    Private or Alternative Loan Contact your lender
    State Program Loan Contact your lender

    For more information about federal student loan types, interest rates, grace periods and repayment periods go to

    *Applicable for loans first disbursed on or after June 30, 2014.

  • When Does Your Grace Period Start?

    If you have a loan(s) that is eligible for a grace period, any of the following situations will start your grace period.

    • Graduating from school
    • Withdrawing from or leaving school
    • Anything that causes you to drop below half-time enrollment

    Your grace period begins the day after your separation date. Your school determines the exact date on which it considers you "separated." If you graduated, your separation date is usually graduation day.

    Contact your servicer(s) to find out exactly when your grace period began and when your first payment is due. Be sure to give your servicer(s) your current contact information so they can send you payment information.

  • Why You Should Make Payments before Repayment Begins?

    You may want to pay down your student loan(s) by making payments while you're still in school, or during your grace period or deferment.

    To see how much you can save by making voluntary payments, use our Value of making interest payments calculator.

  • What If You Go Back to School?

    If you go back to school at least half-time and your grace period has expired, you can request a deferment. You won't have to make student loan payments, although if you have an unsubsidized loan(s), interest will continue to accrue (accumulate).

    If you go back to school at least half-time and your grace period has NOT expired, your grace period starts over. For example, if you have used five months of your grace period and you go back to school, you will get the full six-month grace period again the next time you leave school.

    To learn more, visit our Postpone payments section.