After you apply for financial aid, the Office of Student Finance (OSF) sends a financial aid package to offer you financial aid for which you are eligible. Financial aid packages may include grants, scholarships, work-study funds, and/or loans. When you receive your financial aid package, you can decide to accept or decline any parts of the aid. Read the information below to learn more about borrowing, or contact One Stop Student Services for assistance.
Deciding what to borrow
Borrowing money for college is an investment that impacts your future finances. Any loan taken out today will need to be repaid after you graduate, and the greater your total borrowing, the greater your payments will be post-graduation.
You are not required to borrow all of the loans or loan amounts offered to you. You can decline or accept a loan, and you can decrease the amount of a loan you would like to borrow. We recommend that you borrow only what you need to minimize your overall debt.
Here are some tips to help you evaluate when and what to borrow:
- Consider your cost of attendance for the upcoming year (tuition, fees, books, supplies, etc.).
- Create a budget to track spending and plan for costs.
- Track your previous borrowing history through the Direct Loans website. Note that this site has a record of only your Direct Loan borrowing.
- Compare terms and rates of loans you are considering. Not all loans offered may meet your needs.
- Use a Direct Loan repayment estimator to calculate what your future payments may be.
Repayment after you borrow
If you take out loans while in school, your loan service provider will send notifications of your payments when you are close to entering the repayment period post-graduation. Before your first payment is due, we recommend that you review the different types of repayment options available. You can get this information from your loan service provider.
Loan consolidation is a process that pays off each of your individual loans and rolls them into one, combined total that has one monthly payment and a single interest rate. Consolidation is available for many types of loans including both student and private. Note that federal consolidation is only available for Direct Loans. If you choose to consolidate, be aware of the terms and conditions of the agreement. Some consolidation agreements may prevent loan forgiveness.
Deferment and forbearance
If you are having trouble making your loan payments, you can contact your loan service provider to talk about alternatives such as payment deferment or forbearance. In many cases, your servicer will request documentation from you to verify your current financial situation, and from there can help determine the best option available. You may be able to switch to an income-based repayment plan, or qualify for a deferment or forbearance on your loan and interest payments due to financial hardship.
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