Federal student loans come with a variety of payment options that may help if you can’t meet a standard repayment plan. If you’re having trouble with your loans, evaluate your options as soon as possible so that you don’t risk missing payments.
Breaking down federal student loan repayment plans
Standard: Pay off your loans in fixed monthly payments over ten years.
Graduated: Payments start lower and increase gradually over ten years.
Income-based: Match payments to your income and family size.
Income-contingent: Similar to an income-based plan but with more aggressive payments.
Pay-as-you-earn: Similar to an income-based plan but with more lenient payments.
Deferment: A temporary break from payments due to hardship during which interest does not accrue.
Forbearance: Similar to deferment, but interest continues to accrue during the break.
Loan forgiveness or cancellation: If you work for the government or for a qualifying non-profit organization your loans may be forgiven or canceled after a certain period of time.
Loan discharge: In certain specific situations, potentially including bankruptcy or a school’s closure, your loans may be discharged.