Know your loan servicer
If you’ve recently left school, you may be thinking about student loan repayment. One of the first steps is to locate your loan servicer.
Assigned by the Department of Education, a servicer is a company that manages student loan repayments on behalf of the lender. Your servicer is your primary contact for any information about paying your loan.
To find your servicers, visit the National Student Loan Data System.
You won’t find Sallie Mae on any federal student loan servicer list since we only service private student loans. But we’re here to assist with questions about your Sallie Mae private student loan, so if you have questions, call us at 855-429-9755.
Deferring a federal student loan
When you defer your federal student loan, you are reducing or postponing payments. You may want to request a deferment if you return to school, go to graduate school, or enter an internship or residency.
During deferment, you won’t need to make any loan payments. However, if you have Federal Direct Loans, interest will continue to accrue (grow), which will increase your Total Loan Cost.
To request a federal student loan deferment, contact your student loan servicer. If you don’t know your servicer, you can find out who it is in the National Student Data Loan System.
Federal student loan repayment options
One of the best resources for determining your federal loan repayment options is the Office of Federal Student Aid.
Here you’ll also find a repayment estimator to help you determine which of the programs for which you might be eligible:
- Standard, graduated, and extended repayment plans can change the number of years you pay, so your payments are more manageable.
- Income-Driven Programs—such as the Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan, Income-Based Repayment Plan, Income-Contingent Repayment Plan, and Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan—take your earnings into consideration by instituting a graduated payment or longer period, or both factors.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program
Another program offered by the federal government is PSLF, which forgives any remaining balance on your Federal Direct Loans after 120 qualifying payments.
- You need to work full-time for a qualifying employer—either a government organization, a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization (under section 501(c)(3)), or certain other nonprofit organizations.
- Only Federal Direct Loans are eligible for PSLF.
- You’re encouraged to request the program by submitting a certification form as soon as you can.
Learn more about the PSLF Program