Note that details provided on this page reference loans made under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). All new federal student loans come directly from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (Federal Direct Loans). Students and parents may find information regarding Federal Direct Loans by visiting the Loans page of ED's Federal Student Aid website, or by contacting the college’s financial aid office.
Loan repayment is the process by which a borrower fulfills his/her legal obligation to repay the lender for funds that were disbursed. It is a process that does not directly involve counselors or financial aid administrators, but rather is between the lender and borrower. However, it is important for counselors and financial aid administrators to be aware of the repayment issues in order to help counsel their students.
To help manage student loan debts and successfully repay loans, the student borrower should:
- Know and stay in touch with the lender, financial aid office, or the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC). Don't hesitate to ask questions.
- Open and read any mail received regarding the student loan.
- Keep accurate records.
- Stay current with the payments.
- Write loan account number on all correspondence with the lender and on checks.
Unable to Make Payments
If the borrower is unable to make monthly payments, the borrower should contact the lender immediately to avoid default by considering alternative repayment options. Additionally, depending upon circumstances, the borrower may qualify for loan deferment, forbearance, or forgiveness.
Many lenders and holders offer repayment incentives for borrowers with a record of consecutive on-time payments. These incentives may include interest rate reductions or cash back. Check with the lender or holder to see if these options may be available.
The borrower should be aware of who holds each of the student loans and ensure the total amount of those loans do not exceed the Federal Stafford loan aggregate maximums.
Locating A Student Loan
Although being aware and informed about loans is very important, the borrower may not know what lender or agency is the holder of the loan or is handling the account.
Borrowers can access loan information through the My Federal Student Aid website or the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). With their Social Security number and FSA ID, students can locate their student loan history.
Students may also call the U.S. Department of Education for loan information inquiries at 800-433-3243.