It is important to stay current on your student loan accounts. If you get too far behind on payments, you could go into default, which comes with serious consequences.
To manage your student loan debt:
- Keep records regarding your student loans. Make copies of all letters, canceled checks, receipts and any forms you sign.
- Use the National Student Loan Data System to access your student loan account and determine your total debt, information about your loan servicer, and see what repayment options may be available.
- Know your rights and responsibilities as indicated in your Master Promissory Note. You may contact your lender or servicers anytime to receive a copy of the terms and conditions of the loans you received.
- Use the loan repayment estimator to determine which repayment plan best fits your budget.
- Notify your lender or servicer if you change your address, phone number, email address, name or employers. It is your responsibility to keep their records up-to-date.
- If you are having trouble making your payments, contact your servicer for options.
Avoid defaulting on your student loans by staying current with your payments and keeping in touch with your loan servicer. If you fail to make payments for 270 days, your loan may be considered in default and could result in any or all of the following consequences:
- Steep collection costs
- Referral of your account to a collection agency
- Entire unpaid balance due in a single payment
- Wages garnished
- Withholding money from your income tax return or social security payments
- Loss of eligibility for further federal financial aid (e.g. federal Pell Grant, federal Direct Loan)
- Loss of deferment or forbearance entitlements and flexible repayment options
- Negative impact to your credit score for up to seven years
- Loss of professional licenses
- Denial of employment by a government agency
- Hold placed on your official college transcript
- Civil lawsuit filed against you, with liability for court cost and/or legal expenses
If you are in default, or are on the path to default, contact your loan servicer immediately. Review your budget and, if necessary, seek professional financial counseling. To get on a better financial path, speak to a local, nonprofit professional credit counselor regarding money management services.