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Symbolic drawing of a person looking ahead to his destination, marked by a flag at the top of a building, with several different paths in between. Each path is unique, with different colors, steps, and slopes.

Know Your Federal Student Loan Repayment Options

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Your federal student loans have benefits that allow you to lower your payment amount, postpone your payments, or, in certain cases, have your loans forgiven. These options give you flexibility to change how you repay your loans as your life changes. This can be especially helpful if you're ever faced with unemployment or a health or financial crisis.

A traveller uses a spyglass to look for options.

Find your situation below
or explore your options in our Repayment Planner.

I can handle my payments

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I make enough to afford my monthly payment—Standard/Level Repayment Plan

If you can afford your payments, standard/level repayment may be your best option. You'll pay your loan off the fastest and pay the least amount of interest over time.

I can't afford my current payments

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I'm making money, but not quite enough—Extended/Graduated Repayment Plan

Extended and graduated repayment plans allow you to pay less now and more later. Just remember that the longer you take to pay back your loan, the more interest it will accrue, costing you more in the long run.

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I'm not making enough to cover my monthly expenses—Income-Driven Repayment

Depending on your income, a payment that could be as low as $0/month might be the right option for you. Learn more about income-driven repayment plans, including how to apply. Just remember that the longer you take to pay back your loan, the more interest it will accrue, costing you more in the long run.

I'm not able to make payments

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I've missed a few payments and need help—Forbearance

If you've missed payments, you can recover and start over with forbearance. It will clear up your past-due status and can postpone your payments for a short time—giving you breathing room to make new payment arrangements. Learn more about forbearance, including how to apply.

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I have a special situation and I need to postpone my payments—Deferment

If you're in a longer-term situation or providing service that affects your ability to earn enough money to make your payments, you may be able to postpone them with a deferment. Learn more about deferment, including how to apply.

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I'm unemployed or not working much—Unemployment Deferment

If you're unemployed or working less than 30 hours a week you can postpone your payments for up to three years with an unemployment deferment. It's quick and easy to apply.

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I can't afford my payments with my current income—Economic Hardship Deferment

If you don't have any income, you can postpone your payments with an economic hardship deferment. It's best to take advantage of this option before you miss any payments. Learn more and apply.

I have too many payments

A path that merges from three to one leads a traveller to a successful repayment flag.
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I can't keep track of my payments and due dates—Consolidation

If you have multiple federal student loans with different monthly payments and due dates you can consolidate your loans. Consolidation combines multiple federal loans into a single loan with a fixed interest rate and a single monthly payment, and provides a longer repayment period, which can reduce your monthly payment. Learn more about consolidation.

In a number of small scenarios you may be eligible for loan forgiveness. It's a special program that cancels part or all of a federal student loan. Learn more if you think you might be eligible.

Don't see your story here? Find an option that matches your story in the Repayment Planner.

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