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 Repaying Your Student Loans

If you are borrowing for college, think ahead to the time when you will begin repaying your loans. How much will your monthly payments be? When will they begin? How long will you be making them?

The information on this page can help you think realistically about how you will manage your loan repayment after graduation. Start with this handy College Loan Organizer (PDF), a worksheet to help you track your college loans. Also see the Federal Direct Loan Limits and Repayment Calculators page.

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Following is a "Paying Back Student Loans" video from the U-M Office of Financial Aid CashCourse website. Visit us here for tips about managing finances while you're in school and after you graduate.

 

REPAYING YOUR DIRECT LOANS

 DIRECT LOAN REPAYMENT PLANS

The federal government offers several payment plans for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized and Direct Graduate PLUS Loan borrowers. Standard, extended, or graduated payment plans will determine the amount of your monthly payments, the number of monthly payments and the total amount that you owe with interest.

Some students may be eligible for special repayment programs based on income after graduation.  Examples of these are Income-Based, Income-Contenigent and Income-Sensitive plans. Pay-As-You-Earn Repayment is based on 10 percent of discretionary income, with payments changing as income changes.

For more information about all federal student loan payment options, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Direct Loan Repayment Plans page.

 ESTIMATING YOUR MONTHLY PAYMENTS

For a one-stop calculator, visit StudentLoans.gov for the Repayment Estimator tool that uses real-time loan data to assist you. Sign in with your federal PIN to access your data and get an early look at which plans you may be eligible for and compare monthly payments.

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also has an online interactive Repay Student Debt tool that takes you through a series of questions to help you determine your best repayment options. Click here to access the tool.

You may also visit the U.S. Department of Education StudentAid.ed.gov website for links to a variety of repayment calculators to help you decide on a plan. For these, you will need the cumulative amount of your federal loans; log into the National Student Loan Data System with your federal PIN to retrieve this information. 

Other Calculators and Loan Repayment Tools

 REQUIRED EXIT COUNSELING

Repayment of your federal Direct Loans begins six months after you graduate, withdraw from classes or drop below half-time enrollment. Students borrowing through the Federal Loan Program are required to do online exit counseling.
 
The process is simple. Visit studentloans.gov, log in with your federal PIN, Social Security number and date of birth, select the "Complete Counseling," choose "Exit Counseling" and follow the instructions. If you do not have a PIN or have forgotten it, visit www.pin.ed.gov.

There are options to explore during your exit counseling session. If we can assist you or answer any questions, please call 734-763-6600 or contact us.

The U.S. Department of Education has additional information that may help to explain Direct Loan online counseling. Click on this link that will download as a PDF for reading, saving or printing.  

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TYPICAL DIRECT LOAN REPAYMENT SCHEDULES FOR U-M GRADUATES

Specific information about average student loan debt and other data about U-M students can be found in "The Michigan Almanac" (http://sitemaker.umich.edu/obpinfo/the_michigan_almanac) from the U-M Office of Budget and Planning. To calculate your own situation, visit studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans and select the calculator links.

 BACHELOR'S DEGREE

The average amount borrowed by a resident U-M student receiving a bachelor's degree is $25,575 and $31,895 for a non-resident student. The table below shows monthly payments and the total repaid for a sample resident undergraduate.

Repayment Plan Type Term
(In Months)
Initial Monthly
Payment
Total Payments
(Principal + Interest*)
Standard 120
(10 years)
$286 $34,317
Extended Available for loan balances of more than $30,000
Graduated** 120
(10 years)
$165 $36,927

 GRADUATE DEGREE

The average amount borrowed by a resident student receiving a graduate degree is $46,714 and $64,493 for a nonresident student. The table below shows monthly payments and the total repaid for a sample resident graduate student.

Repayment Plan Type Term
(In Months)
Initial Monthly
Payment
Total Payments
(Principal + Interest*)
Standard 120
(10 years)
$478 $57,382
Extended 300 
(25 years)
$288 $86,520
Graduated** 120 
(10 years)
$276 $61,746

*Based on a 6.8% interest rate (your individual loan rate may vary, depending upon when it was disbursed)
** Estimated monthly repayment for first two years. The payment will generally increase every two years

Sources: Average loan amounts from The Michigan Almanac, a report of the U-M Office of Budget and Planning; loan calculations from the U.S. Dept. of Education (studentaid.ed.gov).

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DIRECT LOAN FORGIVENESS AND FORBEARANCE

Students who work full-time in public service jobs may qualify for forgiveness of the balance due on their eligible federal student loans after making 120 monthly payments under certain repayment plans. For more information, see the U.S. Department of Education’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness webpage or click on the link at left to download a PDF fact sheet about this program.

If you are having trouble making your loan payments, you might qualify for a deferment, forbearance, or other form of payment relief. See the U.S. Department of Education’s information on Postponing Repayment.

Click here for an article about this repayment program.

ESTIMATING PAYMENTS FOR OTHER LOAN TYPES

 PERKINS, HEALTH PROFESSIONS, AND NURSING LOANS

You can estimate your monthly payments on your Perkins, Health Professions, or Nursing Loan using FinAid's Loan Calculator.

Enter the interest rate (5%), the loan term (10 years), and the minimum payment ($40). You will also need to enter the loan balance, which is shown on the View Student Loan Summary page of Wolverine Access. (Log in to the Student Business section of Wolverine Access and select Financial Aid > Aid Year > Loans > View Student Loan Summary.)

Once you've entered the required information in the calculator fields, click Calculate.  If you select Print Payment Schedule, you will receive detailed information about your repayment schedule.  

 PRIVATE LOANS

You can also use FinAid's Loan Calculator to estimate your monthly payments for a private loan. (For more about private loans,visit this page.)

Your interest rate, loan term, and minimum monthly payment are all shown on the master promissory note for the loan. You will also need to enter the loan balance, which is shown on the View Student Loan Summary page of Wolverine Access. (Log in to the Student Business section of Wolverine Access and select Financial Aid > Aid Year > Loans > View Student Loan Summary.)

Once you've entered the required information in the calculator fields, click Calculate.  If you select Print Payment Schedule, you will receive detailed information about your repayment schedule.  

 

FEDERAL CONSOLIDATION LOANS

Federal loan borrowers can combine different types of federal loans with various repayment schedules into a Direct Consolidation Loan with one single monthly payment. For more information about this option, see our page on Federal Loan Consolidation.

More tips to consider as you look at consolidating, repayment and loan management can be found in this video from Federal Student Aid:

 

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