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Repayment Begins for Students Who Graduated in May and June

Mark Kantrowitz

October 26, 2011

Students who graduated in May or June are nearing the end of the six-month grace period. The first monthly loan payment is usually due in November or December.

Don’t Be Delinquent

Unfortunately, about a third of borrowers are late with the first payment on their federal student loans. This is called a delinquency.

There are a variety of reasons why students are late with their loan payments. Some may have forgotten about the loans or misplaced paperwork in a recent move. Start-up expenses — such as the security deposit on a new apartment, utility deposits, furnishing an apartment, buying a new car and the cost of business attire — may make it harder to afford the monthly loan payments at first. Some borrowers may be unemployed, without the financial resources to repay their student loans. Borrowers who consolidate their loans lose the remainder of the grace period.

The payment is required even if you don’t receive a statement or coupon book from the lender.

You are required to provide the lender with your new address if you move. If you don’t tell the lender where to send the bill, it may take months before the lender is able to locate you through skip tracing.

Interest continues to accrue on a loan when you are late with a payment. Accrued but unpaid interest is added to the loan balance, along with late fees, causing it to balloon.

To avoid missing loan payments, use a student loan checklist to keep track of all your loans. (See Lost Your Lender? if you’ve lost track of your loans.) Add a note to your calendar two weeks before the first payment is due. If you haven’t heard from the lender by then, call the lender or visit the lender’s web site to learn when the first payment is due and where you should send the check.

Mail the payment at least a week before the due date to ensure that it will arrive on time. Better yet, set up auto-debit to have the monthly loan payments automatically transferred from your checking or savings account. That way you’ll be much less likely to be late with a payment. (You can still be late on a payment with auto-debit if your account has insufficient funds.)


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