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Loan Repayment

Photo of student reading outside

Understanding how to repay your federal student loans can save you a lot of time and money.

When you borrow a loan, you’re expected to pay it back. Typically, when you graduate or your enrollment drops to less than half-time, repayment begins on your federal student loans, based on the terms of your Master Promissory Note.You’ll be asked to complete exit counseling and select a repayment plan.

Loan Servicers and How to Repay

The first step is to identify your federal loan servicer. You’ll work with your loan servicer to make payments on your loan or change repayment plans.

Perkins BorrowersECSI is your loan servicer.

Determining What You Owe

Your monthly loan payments will vary depending upon your loan balance, the type of loans you’ve borrowed, the interest rate, the repayment plan you select, and in some cases, your income. Here are some repayment estimator calculators to help you plan for repayment:

Defaulting on Your Loans

Missing loan payments is a serious issue and puts you at risk for going into default.

The U.S. Department of Education provides detailed information on loan default. Here are some of the negative consequences:

  • Impact to your credit rating
  • Difficulty with loan approvals in the future — including home or car loans
  • Loss of eligibility for additional federal student aid while defaulted
  • Loss of eligibility for student loan benefits, such as deferment, forbearance, and repayment plans
  • Possibility of your federal and state tax return being withheld to pay your loan.
  • Increased debt due to late fees, additional interest, and collection fees
  • Wage garnishment through your employer
  • Note: Student loans are not typically discharged due to bankruptcy

Avoiding Default

Avoiding default begins with responsible borrowing while you are in school. Only accept the aid you need, and budget accordingly to incur the smallest amount of debt possible. If you are close to default or are concerned with repayment of your student loans, start with the following:

  • Contact the agency that is billing you (commonly your loan servicer).
  • Ask what options you have as a borrower. These may include:
    • Selecting a different repayment plan – some income-based repayment plans may allow you to lower your monthly payment. This may extend the payment period of the loan resulting in additional interest owed over the life of the loan. Visit for information about which plan may be best for you.
    • Requesting deferment – temporary exception from student loan payments for specific circumstances such as unemployment or enrollment in school at least half-time.
    • Requesting forbearance – temporary postponement of payments or reduction in payment amount when you are experiencing financial difficulty.
    • Consolidating your loans
  • Maintain close contact with your lender, loan servicer, or collection agency. Ensure they have the correct contact information on file for you.

Deferment and Forbearance

If you need to temporarily postpone making payments on your loans, you’ll work directly with your loan servicer to apply for deferment or forbearance. To qualify for in-school deferment (postponing payments while you are a student), you must be enrolled at least half-time to qualify (6+ undergraduate or 5+ graduate credits). Boise State will report your enrollment level after classes begin to your loan servicer.