Student Loan Repayment
While SIPA does make funding available through various scholarships and assistantships, approximately 40 percent of our students also use student loans as part of their financing strategy. If you borrowed student loans as an undergraduate, you may already be familiar with the obligation of repaying your loans. Just like a mortgage, a car loan or any other type of debt, repaying your student loans can be stressful. But be aware that there are a number of options available that can help you manage student loans, and even save you money.
Before you make any decisions about borrowing while attending SIPA, we’d like to familiarize you with some of the resources and information that can help you be an informed borrower.
First, plan carefully and borrow only what you need. There are loan programs from government and private sources that can cover all of your costs…tuition, fees, books and supplies, room and board, travel expenses…but over a two year period that can add up to lots of debt. Make sure that you apply for not only all of the funding that SIPA offers, but external sources as well, and also review financial resources you have on hand. Using some savings now might save you interest-bearing debt later.
The types of loans most SIPA students qualify for include the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan (Congress eliminated the interest subsidy on Direct Loans for graduate students when they passed the Budget Control Act of 2011), the Federal Graduate PLUS loan, the Federal Perkins Loan and various loans from private lenders. A good source of information for the federal loans is http://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans, while a sampling of some private loans can be found here.
Be aware of when your repayment begins…it’s not the same for all loans. Click here for information on when loans from the federal government (those are the majority of loans borrowed by SIPA students) go into repayment. And once you have borrowed federal loans (or if you already have), log in to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at www.nslds.ed.gov to find out who will be servicing your loan (which is where your payments will be sent). To log in to NSLDS, you will need your Social Security number and your FAFSA PIN.
In our next student loan repayment entry, we’ll discuss how to find out what your monthly payment will be, along with the different repayment plan options.