PHEAA Reminds Recent College Graduates to Prepare for Repayment of Student Loan Debt

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Six-month grace period ends in November for spring graduates

Harrisburg, PA (October 20, 2010)—The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is advising May college graduates that their student loan six-month grace period will end in November and repayment of their loan debt will begin. Graduates typically take advantage of their six-month grace period to find employment and get their finances in order before beginning repayment of their student loans.

"Graduates have several repayment options to choose from to best match their individual circumstances," said Representative William Adolph, PHEAA Board Chairman. "PHEAA customer service staff is prepared to discuss repayment plans directly with borrowers who have questions about the options available to them."

Student loan repayment plans offer various benefits such as Graduated Repayment with payments that are initially lower but increase later in the repayment schedule or the recently enacted Income Based Repayment plan with monthly payments based on loan debt, income and number of people in a household.

Borrowers who are having difficulty securing employment or who have recently lost their job should contact their loan servicer to determine if they are eligible for an economic hardship or unemployment deferment or forbearance which could temporarily suspend their monthly payments, under certain circumstances, until their financial situation improves. Interest continues to accrue on all federal and private loans even if a deferment or forbearance suspends their monthly payment. The only exceptions to this are subsidized Stafford loans and subsidized Consolidated loans on deferment.

The secure borrower portal found on aesSuccess.org provides additional information on available repayment plans, allows customers to submit secure online payments, and offers an Eligibility Quiz to help borrowers learn which deferment or forbearance options may best suit their current circumstances and provides the option of downloading the appropriate form.

Borrowers are encouraged to take advantage of free, online resources like YouCanDealWithIt.com, which offers college graduates and soon-to-be graduates helpful information on financial planning and budgeting, managing student loan debt, and establishing good credit habits.

PHEAA offers additional tips to graduates during their repayment period:

  • Avoid credit card debt and their high interest rates.
  • Set a reasonable budget and stick to it.
  • Make payments on time.
  • Enroll in an automatic debit program. Most Pennsylvania borrowers can save an additional .25% interest rate when their loan payment is automatically debited from a savings or checking account.
  • Make payments online; borrowers are encouraged to manage their student loan on the secure borrower portal found on aesSuccess.org.

For more information regarding repayment options and helpful tips, please visit www.aesSuccess.org. For the latest financial aid information and helpful tips, upcoming deadlines and free financial aid workshops join PHEAA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pheaa.aid.