Other Common Questions


Where can I find out what I owe in student loans?
What happens if I reach the aggregate loan limit before I finish my undergraduate degree?
Will I have to start repaying my student loans if I take a term off?
Can my loan obligations be cancelled?
How is a Subsidized Direct Loan different from an Unsubsidized Direct Loan?

Where can I find out what I owe in student loans?
You should receive regular communications from the lender or servicer of your Direct Loans from the time you receive your first loan. If you have other loans, you will receive communications from those lenders or servicers as well.

If your address changes, you should let the servicer know so that nothing is misplaced in the mail.

You can find the total you owe in federal student loans at www.nslds.ed.gov.

To access the site, you'll need the PIN you were given when you first applied for a federal student loan.

Unfortunately, there's not a similar resource for private loans. So you should keep all the communications you receive from your lender or lenders or the financial institutions that service your loans. They're not likely to lose touch with you.

What happens if I reach the aggregate loan limit before I finish my undergraduate degree?
You're no longer eligible for undergraduate Federal Direct Loans, so you'll have to find other ways to pay for school. If you finish your undergraduate degree and enroll at least half-time in a graduate or professional degree program, you may be eligible to borrow again, up to the applicable limit.

Will I have to start repaying my student loans if I take a term off?
You may have to begin repaying your Direct Loans if you are not enrolled at least half-time at the end of your six-month grace period. If you re-enroll the next term, you can apply for a deferment that can extend until you finish your degree provided you remain enrolled at least half-time until graduation.

Since the grace period for a Perkins Loan is nine months, your grace period may still be in effect when the next term starts. If you re-enroll at least half-time, you will not have to begin repayment.

Can my loan obligations be cancelled?
Your loan obligations are cancelled if you die or become permanently and totally disabled. They may also be cancelled if your school closes before you finish your degree or if you have been the victim of loan fraud.

Cancellation is also an option if you work in certain public-service professions for the required period and have made regular loan repayments for 120 months. Check with the loan counselor at your school and go to https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation.

How is a Subsidized Direct Loan different from an Unsubsidized Direct Loan?
Although these federal education loans share the Direct name, there are some major differences between them:

  • To qualify for a subsidized loan, you must show you need financial assistance to attend college. Need is determined based on information you provide on the FAFSA. Financial need is not required for an unsubsidized loan.
  • The federal government pays the interest that accrues on a subsidized loan while you are enrolled in school at least half time, during the grace period and during deferment. The borrower is responsible for all interest that accrues on an unsubsidized loan.
  • The annual and aggregate loan limits are lower for subsidized loans than for unsubsidized loans.
  • Interest doesn't accrue during deferment periods with subsidized loans, when repayment of your loan is suspended. It does accrue during deferment of unsubsidized loans.