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General Federal Direct Loans – FAQ
Where can I find information about the interest rates for Federal Direct Loans?
The Federal Government sets the interest rate July 1st of each year.
The interest rates are the same for Stafford Loans in the Federal Direct Loan Program and FFELP, but the Direct Loan Program offers lower interest rates in the PLUS and Grad PLUS programs.
For interest rates, please visit the Loan Comparison Chart or select a specific loan program to view.
Should I consolidate my loans? If I borrowed from more than one loan program, may I consolidate my payments? How and when can I apply to consolidate? Which loans can be consolidated?
For answers about consolidation, please visit the following website: www.loanconsolidation.ed.gov
You may also call 1-800-557-7392 to speak to a representative about loan consolidation.
Where can I go to see my loan history?
Visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), www.nslds.ed.gov, to view which company is currently servicing your loans and their contact information.
How much should I borrow so that I know I can afford to pay it back?
Planning ahead is essential to managing debt. If you plan to borrow each year you are in school, estimate the total amount you will borrow. Then use a sample loan repayment estimator to estimate how much you will have to pay each month. Then decide how much to borrow, you can use the criteria lenders use when they consider an applicant’s ability to repay: the total monthly payment for all debts should not exceed 8% of your gross monthly salary.
What if my educational or career plans change, or something happens after I’m out of school and working?
A change in career goals, the loss of a job, or other unexpected changes in your situation could make repaying your loan more difficult than you expected. In some cases, and at the lender’s option, you may be permitted to temporarily stop making your payments, or your lender may accept smaller payments than scheduled. This is called a forbearance. In addition, for some loans, you may defer repayments temporarily which may help. The promissory note outlines the specific terms under which you may be granted a deferment. Contact your loan servicer if you think you may need to make arrangements. To view your servicer’s contact information, please visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), www.nslds.ed.gov
What happens if I don’t pay back my loan?
Not paying back your student loan can have serious consequences. If you go into default your lender can require you to repay the entire amount immediately, including all interest plus collection and late payment charges. The lender can sue you and can ask the federal government for help in collecting from you. The Internal Revenue Service may withhold your income tax refund and apply it toward your loan. You cannot receive any additional federal student aid until you make satisfactory arrangements to repay your loan. Your grades and official transcripts will be held until you resolve the default status. Also the lender may notify credit bureaus of your default. This may affect your credit rating which will make it difficult to obtain credit cards and car loans in the future.