If you have graduated or stopped attending Columbia College, it is time to start repaying student loans. We’ve provided information and links to resources that will help.
You are required to start repaying your Federal Direct Loan six months after you graduate, leave school or drop below half-time attendance. Your parents are required to begin repaying PLUS loans 60 days after the loans are fully disbursed, however they may request a deferment.
Information about your federal education loans is available through the StudentAid.gov. Federal loans, including FFEL and Direct Loans, PLUS loans and Perkins Loans, are available through this system. Please note that any private loan will not appear in this database.
If you find yourself unable to manage student loans, contact your lenders to let them know your circumstances. In most cases, mutually beneficial arrangements can be made. Do not simply stop making payments.
In special circumstances, you can postpone paying back your loans through deferment. During deferment periods, interest does not accrue. If you are enrolled at least half-time in a postsecondary school or graduate fellowship, you may qualify for deferment. If you are in a rehabilitation program for disabilities, you may qualify for deferment. If you are unemployed, you may be able to get determent up to three years.
If you don’t qualify for a government-approved deferment, you may request forbearance from your lender. This can delay or reduce your monthly payments. However, you must still pay the interest on your loan during the deferment period.
If you teach elementary or secondary school, you may be eligible for special deferment options. In some cases, you may be eligible for cancellation of a portion of your student loan debt. The U.S. Department of Education has more information.
Individuals who enter and work full-time in public sector jobs may apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
To discuss deferring or canceling Federal Direct loans, contact your loan servicer for application forms. Contact information is available through StudentAid.gov.
To discuss deferring or canceling a Perkins loan you borrowed at Columbia College, forms are available from University Accounting Service. If you borrowed Perkins loans at another school, contact that school.
It’s possible to have your student loan debt canceled or reduced under certain specific circumstances.
Consolidating all of your education loans lets you have one monthly payment. It generally allows you to extend the repayment period beyond 10 years.
Federal consolidation loans:
- Fixed interest rate based on a weighted average of the current rates on your existing loans
- Deferment options are predetermined by federal regulations
- Cannot include private loan funds
Private consolidation loans
- Can include federal and private loan funds, however this is not recommended because federal loans offer lower interest rates
- Usually a variable interest rate based on your credit score
- Forbearance is available only at the lender’s discretion
Please note that any consolidation loan is likely going to significantly increase the total amount of interest that you will be required to pay. If you are meeting your currently monthly repayment obligations, it may be best to avoid consolidation.
You can estimate the amount you can afford to pay, based on your monthly income, using the FinAid Calculator.