If you have just graduated from college last spring (or graduation looms close), you probably are already feeling the pressure from your responsibility to pay back those student loans. While most federal and private loans don’t require payments while you are in school, you are required to start paying once you no longer are taking classes. Luckily, most programs give you a grace period after graduation before you have you pay to allow you to get financially settled.
The student loan grace period is the time when you technically are due to start repayment on your loan, but are given an extra temporary reprieve as you start your life post-graduation. In the case of Stafford loans and most other federal programs, you get six months after dropping below half-time enrollment status before you are required to pay back the loans. The same is true of most private student loan grace periods as well, although it will depend on your specific loan agreement. It’s important to note that if you took time off school (usually more than a semester), you may have already used your grace period on your loans — as you are only given one.
During this grace period, you must set up your loan payments for the future and figure out what repayment plan will work best for you. Although you are not required to pay during this time, many students who have found employment do start to pay off loans in the grace period, as interest will accrue on most loans during this time.
What If the Grace Period Isn’t Enough?
Unfortunately, in this economy not all students find work during the grace period. For many people, the end of the grace period is frightening, especially if they are still unemployed or working an unpaid internship. Often these people are disheartened to learn that the grace period cannot be extended unless you are serving as an active duty military member.
Nonetheless, you still have options if you are unable to pay your debt after the student loan grace period ends. If you are unemployed or facing other hardships, you can apply for a deferment for another period of time. You may alternatively qualify for lower payment plans. If these options do not work for you, you still should not panic. There are always options. Talking to loan officers from your university or a bankruptcy lawyer will allow you to explore all the possibilities available to you.
Call a Cleveland Student Loan Debt Lawyer at Luftman, Heck, & Associates
In the end, the grace period is in your favor. Just don’t let it end without a clear financial plan on how to pay for these loans in the future. If you are worried about how to pay off your loans after the grace period ends — or are already in default — call a student loan debt lawyer at Luftman, Heck, & Associates today at (216) 586-6600 for a free consultation. We will be happy to present you with all your options, so that you can choose the right one for you.