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Deferment, Exit Counseling, Repayment, and Credit

While attending college you may have received federal student loans through the US Department of Education (ED). These loans remain in deferment while you are enrolled at least half time.

When you are about to begin paying back those loans, you’ll need to know how to manage your debt to avoid repayment and credit problems. Borrowers are scheduled for repayment when they graduate or cease at least half-time (6 credit hours) enrollment. There is a grace period (6 months for Federal Direct Loans, 9 months for Perkins) before the first payment is due.

The Federal loan programs require graduating students and those who have dropped below half-time enrollment to complete an Exit Counseling Session (see links below) to help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.

You may access your federal student loan information including the status of each loan borrowed on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

Who is my loan servicer?
The US Department of Education contracts with multiple agencies to provide Direct Loan Servicing. You will receive loan and repayment information from the contractor servicing your loans and the Service Center is listed on NSLDS. If you are not sure which Service Center to call, contact the Research and Customer Care Center at 1-800-433-7327, or send an e-mail to fsa.customer.support@ed.gov.

For Federal Perkins Loan servicing Hope College contracts with Educational Computer Systems, Inc. (ECSI). You can contact ECSI at (888)459-3274 or access your account on line.

What about Loan Repayment?
See the Comprehensive Information you'll need to know before you begin paying back your loans.

Use Sample Repayment Schedules and Interest Capitalization Calculators.

See information on the Income Based Repayment Plan.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness for Direct Loans

Review a presentation on Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Some loans may be eligible for Discharge or Cancellation of principal.

Some loans may be eligible for Loan Forgiveness.

Loan forgiveness programs for certain careers:

Public Service Employees- FACT SHEET and list of Q & As

Teachers- AFT Database, select Loan Forgiveness under funding type.

Nurses- Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program.

Loan Counseling

Electronic Direct Loan Exit Counseling takes about 30-40 minutes. At this site, select Exit Counseling. You use your Federal PIN to log into a session.

Electronic Perkins Loan Exit Counseling takes about 20 minutes. When you are required to complete Exit Counseling for the Federal Perkins Loan, you receive a message at your Hope e-mail account directing you to the exit site. You use your ECSI PIN to log in.
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What is Deferment and Forbearance?
If you meet one of the deferment criteria, you may postpone payment on your loans. The most common deferment is being enrolled at least half time. Should you transfer from one school to another, or return to school after not being enrolled, you may defer payments on your loans. You may need to complete a deferment form available from your loan servicer. Forbearance allows a borrower to cease payments for a specified period of time but interest usually continues to accrue. For details on deferment and forbearance, click here.
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What is Loan Default?
Defaulting has serious consequences!
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Federal Student Loan Interest Deduction

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Credit and Debt Information
including managing a budget and keeping debt under control.

Federal law requires the government to report federal loan information and the subsequent monthly payment information to credit bureaus. A borrower has the right to prohibit a credit bureau from using information in the borrower's credit record in connection with any credit or insurance transaction not initiated by the borrower.