Loan Repayment Programs

Repaying Federal Student Loans

Understanding the repayment process for your federal student loans can go a long way toward building a solid financial foundation.  Remember, federal student loans are real loans, just like car loans or mortgages. You must repay a student loan even if your financial circumstances become difficult. Your student loans cannot be canceled because you didn’t get the education or job you expected, or because you didn’t complete your education (unless you couldn’t complete your education because your school closed). You need to make payments to your loan servicer.  Each servicer has its own payment process, so check with your servicer if you aren’t sure how or when to make a payment. You are responsible for staying in touch with your servicer and making your payments, even if you do not receive a bill. Find out more about repayment of your federal student loans.

Use the Repayment Estimator

Before you contact your loan servicer to discuss repayment plans, you can use our Repayment Estimator to get an early look at which plans you may be eligible for and see estimates for how much you would pay monthly and overall. You’ll need to sign in with your Federal Student Aid PIN because the estimates will be based on your loan information in the NSLDS.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers programs to repay student loans for young researchers pursuing careers in specific areas of research. These programs are typically very competitive. Current requirements state that the recipient must commit at least two years conducting qualified research funded by a domestic nonprofit organization or U.S. federal, state, or local government entity. NIH may repay up to $35,000 of your qualified student loan debt per year, including most undergraduate, graduate and medical school loans. Visit  for more information on these programs.