Stafford Student Loan Repayment
Take the time to understand the steps to repay student loans
Among the many attractions of a Federal Stafford Loan is the flexibility it offers in repayment terms.
You won't be required to begin repaying your Stafford Loan until six months after you either graduate or drop below half-time student status. However, for unsubsidized Stafford Loans, interest will begin accruing on the loan while you are still enrolled in school.
With Stafford Loans, you will have a choice of student loan repayment plans. They include:
- Standard repayment
- Extended repayment
- Graduated repayment
- Income-based repayment
Standard repayment plan
You are required to pay a fixed amount each month until the loans are paid in full, with up to ten years to repay. Monthly payments must be at least $50.
Extended repayment plan
The borrower pays a fixed, annual or graduated repayment amount over a period not exceeding 25 years. The fixed monthly payment is lower than under the standard student loan repayment plan, but the total that is repaid is higher, due to the accumulation of interest over a longer period.
Graduated repayment plan
Payments can begin low—covering at least the interest that accrues between payments—and are ratcheted up every two years, during which time the student's income will presumably be increasing. Student loan repayment is accomplished in a period of up to ten years.
Income-based repayment (IBR)
As the newest way to repay a Stafford student loan, monthly payments are capped at an amount intended to be affordable for families, based on their size and income. You are eligible for IBR if the monthly student loan repayment amount under IBR will be less than the monthly amount calculated under a 10-year standard repayment plan. Those who repay under the IBR plan for 25 years may be eligible to have their loan balances cancelled, as are those who work in the field of public service for ten years.
Learn more about affordable student loan repayment options
You can find helpful information about repayment and financing options by visiting our student services page. If you still have questions, call a student loan specialist at 1-800-721-3969, and we'll help walk you through the process.