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Category Archives: Loans

Payment Options

Repaying your student loans

Sallie Mae is committed to giving you the information and tools you need to understand and evaluate your student loan payment options. We can help you find an option that fits your budget, simplifies payment, and minimizes your total interest cost.

Before you choose a repayment plan

  • Understand the repayment options available to you. Sallie Mae offers standard, graduated, income-sensitive, income-based and extended repayment plans on federal student loans.
  • Realize that combined billing is available for Sallie Mae-serviced loans.*
  • Compare your repayment options. Estimate your monthly student loan payments for eligible Sallie Mae loans with our Loan Repayment Calculator. Or, if your loans are in repayment, you can view repayment plans that may be available for your loans at Manage Your Loans
  • Know that you can prepay your loans in part or in full at any time without penalty. This will lower the overall cost of your loan.
  • Realize the importance of paying back your student loans.
  • Understand that choosing a plan with lower payments may result in higher costs over the life of the loan.

Lower monthly payments

Payment amount reduction may be available for those who qualify. Federal student loan repayment plans offering lower monthly payment amounts than the standard repayment plan are:

Lowest overall loan cost

Make level monthly payments of principal and interest to help control interest costs.

Postpone your payments

Private student loans

Eligibility for Sallie Mae private student loan repayment plans may vary by loan type, loan balance, and disbursement date.

The Sallie Mae Smart Option Student LoanSM first disbursed June 1, 2009 and later requires monthly interest-only payments during the in-school and separation periods. Check the terms of your loan’s specific Promissory Note and log in to Manage Your Loans to see if your loan status shows repayment. If so, and you are enrolled in school, then you are not eligible for other repayment options at this time.
Private student loans first disbursed before June 1, 2009, may be eligible for graduated repayment to lower the initial monthly loan payments.

*Combined billing is available for eligible student loans that are serviced by Sallie Mae. Some restrictions may apply.

Source: https://www.collegeanswer.com/manage-your-money/manage-student-loans/student-loan-repayment-options/

A Break From Payments

Take a Break from Payments

Both deferments and forbearances give you a break from monthly payments for a set period of time. Many options are available to meet a variety of needs. If you are having difficulty making payments and want to see which options fit your specific situation, log in to your account and click Postpone My Payment to see which deferment or forbearance works best for you. Of course, you can also call us at 888.486.4722 to talk through your options.

  • Log in to your account and click Postpone My Payment to apply for deferment or forbearance. You can also call us at 888.486.4722.
  • Learn more about the difference between deferment and forbearance.
  • Calculate accrued interest while in deferment or forbearance. (To avoid capitalization, you may choose to pay accruing interest or even small payments toward the balance.)


Avoid Default With Deferment or Forbearance

About Deferment

If you are experiencing financial hardship, go back to school, are unemployed, or are on active duty military service, postponing payments with deferment may be right for you. Subsidized Stafford loans and subsidized consolidation loans will not accrue additional interest, so your balance after the deferment period will be the same as when it started. However, for unsubsidized Stafford loans, PLUS loans, SLS loans, or unsubsidized consolidation loans, interest will accrue during the deferment period, so it’s wise to pay at least the interest on your loan each month. This will prevent your interest from being capitalized, or added to the principal of your loan, essentially increasing your total balance and requiring you to pay more in the long run.

About Forbearance

If you work an internship, perform certain types of community service, or find yourself experiencing financial hardship, you may be qualified to postpone payments with forbearance. All loans accrue interest during forbearance, so it’s smart to pay at least the monthly interest during this period to avoid interest capitalization. Forbearance resolves any delinquency on the account—log in to your account and click Postpone My Payment to see if you’re eligible. You can also call us at 888.486.4722.

Available Deferments

The federal government has allowed for these deferment options. Read on to see if these situations apply to you. Remember—just because you are eligible for a deferment does not mean you are required to request it; if you feel you can make payments on your loan, you are encouraged to do so.

Armed Forces Deferment

If you serve on active military duty in the Armed Forces or National Guard, you may be eligible for this deferment or other student loan benefits for members of the military.



Worksheets, Resources, and Tips

Budgeting Worksheet     Manage your budget and get on the right track using this itemized worksheet.

Budget Strategies     Good intentions aren’t enough. Try these strategies to save money for your future.

 Managing Your Money       Achieve financial wellness with these nine money-saving tips.

Credit Card Tips       Credit cards help establish and improve your credit score, but only when used responsibly. Make sound financial decisions with this info.

Identity Theft       Don’t be a victim. Keep your identity safe with these tips.

Explore Deferment and Forbearance       Trouble making payments? Discover how you could postpone them.

2013-2014 Federal Student Loan Programs       Compare your federal student loan options.

Financial Goals Worksheet       Healthy financial habits start by setting sound financial goals. Get started here.

Live Life Smart Guide Your complete guide to becoming financially savvy, whether you’re graduated or just starting your education.

Financial Literacy with the Department of Education Let the Department of Education help you find a balance between your income, financial aid, and living expenses.



Spending and Savings Plans

Creating and sticking to a spending and savings plan might not be your idea of  fun, but it can help you control your spending so you CAN have fun without getting  into money trouble.  If you don’t have  much money coming in, don’t worry—following a realistic plan CAN still allow you to  have some small luxuries, even if it is an occasional soda or movie.

  1. The first step towards creating a budget is  determining all of your recurring monthly expenses, such as rent, tuition, groceries, phone  bill, student loan payment, car payment, gas, insurance, necessary clothes, and other needs. You may wish to check out  the MDHE’s spending and savings plan worksheet to help get you started.
  2. Next total your monthly income including wages  from work (not including overtime) and any financial aid funds left  over for living expenses after paying your tuition and fees.  Calculate the amount of these financial aid funds you should use each month by dividing the  amount by the number of months in  your semester or term.
  3. Then, take your overall expenses total and subtract expenses from your income.  There may not be anything left over, or it  could be a negative number.  Based on the  results, examine each item in your budget and decide if you could cut back in  any areas.  Which line items are truly NEEDS and which are actually only the things you WANT? Additionally, if you are paying checking account or credit card fees, learn how to effectively take charge of your finances while to eliminate these expenses.

Congratulations, you’ve created a budget and taken the first  step to getting control of your money.

Now for the tough part—

  1. Find out if your actual spending matches your plan.  Tracking expenses and comparing them to your  plan will allow you to gain control over your monthly spending, allowing you  to keep student loan debt,  as well as other types of debt, at a reasonable level or non-existent,  especially while you are in college.

There are a number of ways to track your spending, such as  writing down purchases in a checkbook ledger or using a spreadsheet.  If you are comfortable  letting technology do some of the work for you, you can use an application like www.mint.com or www.buxfer.com, which can help you track and analyze your spending habits.

If you follow these steps, you should be able to  gain control over your money, save money for emergencies, and get out  of debt quickly.





Understanding Default

NEVER ignore delinquency or default notices from your loan servicer.  If you don’t make your monthly loan payments, you will become delinquent on your student loan and risk going into default. Contact your servicer immediately if you are having trouble making payments or won’t be able to pay on time. Learn about federal student loan default: Find out what may happen if you default, what steps you can take to keep your loan from going into default, and what your options are for getting out of default.





Use our calculators to plan your household budget, determine your monthly payment amount, and explore deferment and forbearance options to postpone your payments.

Planning and Budgeting

How much money will you spend on books? What about food, rent, and utilities during college? Use the Planning and Budgeting Calculator to see how your expenses add up so you can best estimate how much you may need in additional income or student loans to cover your costs. Remember, only take out the amount in loans that you need—your financial future will thank you. Calculate your college expenses.

Income-Based Repayment

Want a lower payment now and a larger payment when you’re making more money? This plan could be right for you. Learn more about this plan. Calculate your payments on this plan.

Income-Contingent Repayment (for FDLP loans only)

Want a payment based on your income, family size, and interest rate? This plan takes these factors into consideration, potentially allowing you more flexibility in your monthly budget. Learn more about this plan. Calculate your payments on this plan.

Deferment & Forbearance

You may not be able to make monthly payments right now—and that’s okay. The federal government allows for many different deferments and forbearances that could postpone your payment, and one may be perfect for your unique situation. Learn more about deferment and forbearance options. Calculate interest that will accrue during a deferment or forbearance.




The Different Types of Student Loans

To find out about federal student loans, visit Federal Student Loans 101. This page gives an overview of topics like who can get federal student loans, the different types of student loans, loan interest rates, how to apply, and information about various loan servicers (including Nelnet).

To view an in-depth comparison chart of different federal student loans including information about loan amount limits, which loans are subsidized (meaning that the government pays the interest while the student is in school or deferment), and whether the loan requires a credit check, take a look at the Types of Federal Loans.

Your child will not need to pay back their loans while in school. However, during that time, they have the option of paying on their loan interest. This is beneficial in that it reduces the amount of interest that is added to the principal balance of unsubsidized student loans (this process is called capitalization).

Please Note: If your child borrows Federal Stafford Loans, they’ll have a six-month grace period after they graduate or drop below half-time status before they must begin paying their loans back. During this grace period, they should find out who their loan servicers are, choose a repayment plan that works for them, and possibly explore loan consolidation, which can give them one easy-to-remember payment per month.



The Path to Repayment

As you leave school, understanding how your student loans will impact your finances can help you successfully manage your loans.

This timeline teaches you about what happens during your grace period and the steps to take along the path to repayment.

Start the repayment path

7 Months

Great Lakes is your federal student loan servicer. That means we’ll be your advisor as you repay your loans. The idea of making loan payments might be a little overwhelming, but you have time to get ready. Federal student loans come with a six month grace period. It’s a window of time after you leave school when you aren’t yet required to make payments. Now is a good time to start thinking ahead a few months to prepare for that first payment.

  1. Still in school or returning soon? If so, please update your enrollment status to let us know.
  2. Make sure we have your active email address. As you move on, you may be done using your school email address. Sign up for account access and update your contact information.
  3. Save money by paying interest.
Estimate your payment
4 Months

Your grace period is about half over. It’s a good time to estimate your monthly payment amount and review all of your repayment options.

  1. Making on-time payments builds good credit, which can be a factor when applying for a job, securing housing, or buying a car.
  2. Log in and select Repayment Plans from the Quick Links for level and graduated plan estimates. Other repayment plans are also available—some based on how much you’re able to pay.
  3. Plan ahead for trouble. Special repayment options may let you postpone payments.
Select a repayment option
2 Months

It’s time to decide how you want to pay back your student loans. You determine whether you begin making full payments or pursue an income-based plan that could possibly lower your payments to $0.

  1. Log in and select Repayment Plans from the Quick Links for level and graduated plan estimates. Or view income-based options.
  2. Unless you select an option, we’ll set you up with the level repayment plan. It consists of monthly payments that stay the same over a maximum of 10 years.
  3. If you’re unable to start repaying your loan, take action now! Don’t wait. Select Postpone or Lower Payments to explore postponing your payments with deferment or forbearance.
Review your payment schedule
30 Days

Your six month grace period has ended and you’re about a month away from your first payment due date. You’ll soon get a payment schedule from us that details your repayment terms. If your grace period flew by and you didn’t select a different repayment option, we set you up with the level repayment plan. It consists of monthly payments that stay the same over a maximum of 10 years.

This is a good time to make sure we have your current contact information and to sign up for automatic monthly payments.

  1. Make sure we have your active email address. As you move on, you may be done using your school email address. Log in and select Edit Your Profile to update your contact information.
  2. Ensure your payments are always on time by enrolling in Auto Pay to have your monthly payments automatically withdrawn from your checking or savings account. Your lender might also offer an incentive for making automatic payments. Select Auto Pay from the Payments menu.
Payment reminder
14 Days

You’ll be making your first scheduled payment in a couple weeks. If we have your current email address, we’ll send you monthly payment reminders, including the payment amount and due date. Otherwise, we’ll mail you a payment reminder letter each month.

  1. Make sure we have your active email address. Log in and select Edit Your Profile to update your contact information.
  2. Visit the Knowledge Center to explore additional helpful materials.
First Payment Due
0 Days

Your first scheduled student loan payment is due, but the path doesn’t end here. Successfully repaying your student loans helps you build a solid financial future and Great Lakes will be here to help you every step of the way.

  1. Log in and select Payments to review your payment options.
  2. Learn solid money management skills with Financial IQ®.
  3. We realize things in life can change. If they do, you can also change your repayment option. Log in and select Repayment Plans from the Quick Links.
  4. Contact Us with questions or concerns, any time.
Grace Period Begins

No Longer in School
Grace Period Ends
6 Month Grace Period

Accruing Interest

Depending on the type of loan you have, interest can build up (accrue) while you prepare for repayment. If you’re wondering how this will affect your loan



Save Time, Gain Convenience

We designed the Great Lakes Mobile app to give you another way to manage your student loans.

Make Payments and More

  • Make or schedule student loan payments of any amount you choose
  • Use an existing payment account or create and store a new one
  • Sign up for account access—no need to visit our website to get started
  • Take advantage of the app’s clean and intuitive design

Stay Informed

  • Receive payment reminders and confirmations
  • View account details like your balance, interest, lender, and status
  • Easily track payment history

Remain Secure

  • Secure identity confirmation
  • Robust encryption technology