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Repaying Federal Loans

It is important to understand that most types of financial aid come in the form of student loans. For most student loans, repayment is, or can be, deferred until after you leave school or drop below half-time status. At CTU, we will not only work with you throughout the financial aid process, but we will also provide you with valuable resources to understand and make informed decisions about your repayment obligations.

When you leave CTU, you will have access to a student loan specialist who will stay in contact with you regarding the repayment of your student loans. The specialist will be able to provide you with information regarding grace periods, deferment, forbearance and more. This individual will help you be well-informed if you need to set up a payment plan.

For those who like to plan ahead, we have provided student loan repayment resources you can review before you even begin your coursework. Below you will find a link to the FA tools page which has a link to a repayment calculator. Please take the time to review this resource for perspective on your student-loan borrowing. For Repayment calculators please visit Financial Aid Tools. For assistance with using the Repayment calculator, you can contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

Grace Periods and Interest Rates

Federal Direct Stafford Loans

After a borrower graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment, Federal Direct Stafford Loans that were made for that period of study have several months before payments are required to begin. This period of time is called a “grace period”. Each Federal Direct Stafford Loan (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) has a six-month grace period that starts the day after you stop attending at least half-time. You don't have to make payments during your grace period; however interest does continue to accrue. Please refer to the Federal Student Aid website for specific award year interest rates:

Federal Direct PLUS Loans

Unlike Federal Direct Stafford Loans, there is no automatic six-month grace period for Federal Direct PLUS Loans. However, if you're a graduate or professional student PLUS borrower (or if you're a parent PLUS borrower who is also a student), you can defer repayment while you're enrolled in school at least half time and (for Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008) for an additional 6 months after you graduate or drop below half-time enrollment.

If you’re a parent PLUS borrower, you can defer repayment of Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008, while the student for whom you obtained the loan is enrolled at least half time, and for an additional 6 months after the student graduates or drops below half-time enrollment.

For Federal Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008, the repayment begins 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed;

  • For Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2017, and before July1, 2018, the interest rate is 7%. These are fixed interest rates for the life of the loan.
  • Please refer to the Federal Student Aid website for other specific award year interest rates:


A borrower’s repayment period begins the day after their loans’ grace periods end. First payments will be due within 60 days of the beginning of the repayment period. Borrowers have many repayment options to choose from. Keep in mind that during the course of repayment you may need to change repayment plans depending on your financial circumstances. You must contact your loan provider to discuss, apply and/or change to alternative repayment options.

  • Payment in Full (Direct Loans & FFEL) - You may repay a portion or your entire loan at any time without penalty.
  • Standard Repayment Plan (Direct Loans & FFEL) - Fixed monthly payment to repay the loan in full within 10 years (not including periods of deferment or forbearance). Monthly payments start at a minimum of $50 and remain level. Your actual payments may be higher, depending on the amount you borrow.
  • Graduated Repayment (Direct Loans & FFEL) - Payments start out lower and gradually increase to ensure the loan(s) are paid off within 10 years. This option assumes that income will grow enough to cover the increasing loan payments. You'll pay more total interest over the life of the loan than under the standard plan, because your initial payments mainly go toward interest, not principal. You must repay the loan in full within 10 years (not including periods of deferment or forbearance).
  • Extended Repayment (Direct Loans & FFEL) - To be eligible for either, you must be a new borrower on or after 10-7-1998 and the total outstanding loan amounts must be $30,000 or more. Payments are either fixed or graduated. The life of the loan must not exceed 25 years. You'll pay more total interest over the life of the loan than under the standard plan, because your initial payments mainly go toward interest, not principal.
  • Income-Sensitive Repayment (Direct Loans & FFEL) - The payment is adjusted annually based on your yearly income amounts. If you have a relatively low income and a high loan balance, payments may be based on a percentage of your gross monthly income. Your monthly payment must be at least enough to cover the interest that accrues each month. You'll pay more total interest over the life of the loan than under the standard plan, because your initial payments mainly go toward interest, not principal. You must repay the loan in full within 10 years (not including periods of deferment or forbearance).
  • Income-Based Repayment (Direct Loans & FFEL) - This repayment option is only available for borrowers who demonstrate a financial hardship. If you qualify for this option, your maximum monthly payments will be 10% or 15% of your discretionary income depending on when you received your first loans, but never more than you would have paid under the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan. Payments are recalculated each year and are based on updated income and family size. If you have not repaid your loan in full after making the equivalent of 20 or 25 years of qualifying monthly payments (depending on when you received your first loans), any outstanding balance may be forgiven.
  • Income-Contingent Repayment (Direct Loans only) - The monthly payment amount will be based on your annual income (and your spouses', if you are married), family size and the total amount owed on your Direct Loans. As your income changes, payments may change. If you do not repay your loan in full after 25 years under this plan, the unpaid portion will be forgiven. You may have to pay income tax on any amount forgiven.
  • Pay as you Earn Repayment (Direct Loans) - Under this repayment plan, the required monthly payment for a borrower who has a partial financial hardship is limited to no more than 10 percent of the amount by which the borrower's AGI exceeds 150 percent of the poverty guideline applicable to the borrower's family size, divided by 12. The Secretary of Education determines annually whether the borrower continues to qualify for this reduced monthly payment based on the amount of the borrower's eligible loans, AGI, and poverty guideline. Any outstanding balances on loans taken out for undergraduate study, and not paid in full after 20 years, will be forgiven. Any outstanding balances on loans taken out for graduate or professional study, and not paid in full after 25 years, will be forgiven.
  • Consolidation (Direct Loans & FFEL) - This loan is designed to assist you with managing your debt. It is available only to students who are no longer in school. You may combine loan amounts from, FFEL / Direct Loan, other loans and lenders into one payment schedule using a fixed interest rate and longer repayment period (up to 30 years). This allows an extended repayment period and lower monthly payments. However, the interest rate and total cost of the loan may be greater. In addition to increasing your total cost of debt, you may lose eligibility for certain types of deferments if you consolidate. Carefully review your deferment eligibility before making the decision to consolidate. Under certain circumstances, your student loan, or a portion of your loan, may be cancelled, forgiven, or discharged. If you consolidate your loans, you may lose eligibility for certain cancellation or forgiveness programs. To apply for a Federal Consolidation Loan, your loans must be in a grace period or in repayment (including periods of deferment). If you choose to waive your grace period, that waiver is permanent and cannot be rescinded. If your loans are in default, you do have options if you want to consolidate. For more information contact the current holder(s) of the loan(s).

Deferment, Forbearance, and Loan Discharge/Forgiveness


One way to have your loan payments postponed is through a deferment. A deferment is a period of time during which your lender temporarily suspends your regular payments. Deferments are not automatic; you must apply and be approved for deferment.

The most common reasons for deferment of Federal Direct Stafford Loans include:

  • Returned to school for at least half-time attendance
  • Rehabilitation training program
  • Loss of a job or inability to find a job (up to three years)
  • Active Duty Military service
  • Economic hardship, or serving in the Peace Corps (up to three years)
  • Graduate fellowship program

The most common reasons for deferment of Federal Direct PLUS Loans include:

  • Attending school at least halftime.
  • Unemployed (up to three years).
  • Studying in an approved graduate fellowship or rehabilitation program for the disabled.
  • Experiencing economic hardship (up to three years).

Refer to your promissory note for specific deferment provisions.


If you are having difficulty repaying your loan but do not qualify for a deferment, you may request a forbearance from your lender or servicer. Forbearance is the temporary postponement or reduction in your payment. It may extend the time it takes to repay your loan. Interest continues to accrue during the forbearance, causing the total loan amount to increase. You must contact your lender/holder to request forbearance. Most forbearance is discretionary - it is completely up to your loan holder to grant one. There are two types of forbearances, General and Mandatory.

General Forbearances are temporary, and may not exceed more than 12 months at a time. Additional General Forbearances may be requested if you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

General Forbearances may pertain to situations such as:

  • Financial difficulties
  • Medical Expenses
  • Change in Employment
  • Other reasons acceptable to the loan servicer

Mandatory Forbearances may not exceed 12 months at a time. Additional Mandatory Forbearances may be requested if you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

Mandatory Forbearances may pertain to situations such as:

  • Service in a medical or dental internship or residency program
  • The total amount owed each month for all the student loans received is 20 percent or more of your total monthly gross income, for up to three years
  • Service in an AmeriCorps position for which a national service award is received
  • Performing a teaching service that would qualify for teacher loan forgiveness
  • Qualification for partial repayment of loans under the U.S. Department of Defense Student Loan Repayment Program
  • Member of the National Guard and have been activated by a governor, but are not eligible for a military deferment

Loan Discharge/Forgiveness

You may be eligible for loan discharge/forgiveness if you meet the federally mandated requirement. If you are eligible for loan discharge, your student loan will be forgiven and you will not have to repay the loan. GENERALLY, FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS MAY NOT BE DISCHARGED OR CANCELLED DUE TO BANKRUPTCY. Possible reasons for student loan discharge include:

  • Total and permanent disability
  • False certification of Student eligibility or unauthorized signature/unauthorized payment discharge
  • Death
  • Identity Theft
  • School closure
  • Certain areas of the teaching or child care professions
  • Bankruptcy (in rare cases)
  • Certain Public Service Employees
  • Unpaid refund and any accrued interest and other charges associated with the unpaid refund
  • Survivors of victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks

The following reasons would not warrant discharge or forgiveness of Federal Direct Loans:

  • The student didn’t complete the program of study
  • The student didn’t like the school of the program of study
  • The student didn’t obtain employment after completing the program of study

Loan Repayment Programs

There are certain programs that help borrowers repay loans. These include but are not limited to:

Consequences of Default

Loans must be repaid and your signed promissory note includes details about your rights and responsibilities for your student loans. Failure to make timely payments on these loans may result in your loan being placed in what is called “default” status. A Direct Stafford Loan is considered in default when it reaches 271 days past due. Some of the consequences include:

  • Adverse credit score. This could impact your ability to borrow in the future (e.g., you may be denied a car loan);
  • Loss of eligibility for further federal student financial aid;
  • Loss of deferment and forbearance entitlements and flexible repayment options;
  • Garnishment of your wages;
  • Withholding of your state and federal treasury payments (including an income tax refund due to you, or you and your spouse, Social Security benefits, etc.);
  • Civil lawsuit, including court costs and legal expenses. The federal government can take legal action against you;
  • Late fees, additional interest, court costs, collection costs, attorney’s fees, and other costs incurred in collecting the loans, which can increase your loan debt;.
  • Suspension of your professional license, if applicable.