- Do your homework. Many private banks and lenders as well as the federal government are in the student loan business.
- Visit Federal Student Aid to learn more about Federal Government Direct Loans.
- Try not to take out a larger loan then necessary to fund your college experience. Be sure to apply for things such as work-study positions, grants, and scholarships to help pay for your college expenses. This will help lower the amount of money you may need to borrow.
- Keep track of what kind of loan(s) you have, whom you’ve borrowed the money from and how much you borrow. Loans have different minimum monthly payments, interest rates and repayment plans. Don’t just sign the promissory note and forget about it. Keep it in a safe place so that you can refer back to it.
- Shop and compare. Loans come in several varieties: subsidized, unsubsidized, and alternative. You should maximize your federal loan options prior to considering bank-based loans. Bank-based loans have different interest rates and payback options. Make sure you look at all the loan options and choose the one that is most appropriate for your financial needs.
- Remember loans have to be paid back. They are not free whether your loan is subsidized or unsubsidized; you will owe interest on the money that you borrow. If your loan is larger than the amount needed to pay for your tuition, you may receive a check for the excess amount. If you decide to spend this check, keep in mind that you must pay it back along with interest fees.
- Keep in mind loans must be repaid even if you do not finish school. When the time comes to pay back your student loans, make sure you set up a repayment plan that makes sense for your financial situation.
- You must start repaying your student loan six months (your grace period) after your official graduation date or the date that you decide to leave school. If for some reason you have trouble paying back your student loans, you can seek a hardship deferment of the loan until you’re able to pay back the money you owe. Contact your servicer to get deferment and loan consolidation options.
- Understand what loan consolidation is and realize that it is not always beneficial for everyone.
Q&A about Student Loans
Who owns my loan?
If you are not sure who owns your loan, you can check on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at www.nslds.ed.gov. You will have to use your federal PIN number (the one you received to sign your FAFSA) and your social security number. You will then be able to find out who the holder of your loan is, who the servicer is and how much you owe etc. You can also call your school and ask them for assistance.
Where do I send my payment?
Student loan payments are to be sent to your loan servicer. Sometimes student loans are sold which may change where you have to send your payment. If you are unsure of where to send your payment, review the written materials from your lender, visit their website or call them.
Can I change my payment amount/payment plan?
Usually borrowers can change their repayment plan at least once a year and sometimes monthly. There are certain minimum monthly requirements that must be met, depending on the payment plan. Contact your lender or servicer for more information.
My loan was sold-what does this mean?
Just like a car, bank or mortgage loan, student loans can be sold to another bank, lender, to the U.S. Department of Education or to a secondary market. Regardless of who holds your student loan, you are still legally obligated to repay the full amount of the loan and the interest fees.
I missed my payment, what do I do now?
Contact your lender immediately to discuss your options. Consider changing your repayment plan if your current plan is not working for you. Keep track of all communications.
I can’t make my payment, what should I do?
Don’t ignore the debt…it won’t go away. There are many options to help, including changing your payment due date, repayment plan, or requesting a deferment or forbearance. Contact your lender or school for assistance.
Don’t see your question here?
Submit a question to FinancialAid@davenport.edu and we will do our best to provide an answer within two business days. Please indicate “LOAN QUESTION” in the subject line of the email.