As graduation draws closer, you might be thinking about everything from loan repayment to loan consolidation. Below is information on these topics and more that will help you make a smooth transition from a student to a graduate.
Federal regulations require that students who borrowed through the Federal Stafford Loan Program and/or the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan Program and who are going to graduate or who will no longer be enrolled on at least a half-time basis (6 credits minimum for J.D. students; 3 credits minimum for Graduate Tax students) must complete Exit Counseling.
You can complete this requirement online at your convenience by going to studentloans.gov. You will need your FAFSA pin to sign in. Signing in will enable you to view your federal student loan data available at the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), notify schools of counseling completion and save proof of counseling completion. Your personal portfolio of federal loans from NSLDS will be integrated into the session and you may also include any private loans you may have taken out. This will provide you with a more relevant, personal picture of your outstanding loans and repayment amounts.
Before beginning the exit counseling process online (which should take you approximately 30 minutes), make sure you have the following information on hand:
1.Your FAFSA pin number – this is necessary to access this site
2.Villanova Law School OPEID number - 00338801
3.Your social security number and your driver’s license number
4.If applicable, the name, address, telephone number and employer for your spouse
5.Name, address and telephone number of your next of kin (parent, relative)
6.Name, address, and telephone number of your expected employer when you graduate
7.Name, address, telephone number and employer of two references (cannot be the same as your next of kin)
If at any time you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Financial Aid by calling 610-519-7015 or emailing the office at email@example.com.
Once you graduate, leave school or drop below half-time enrollment status, then you will have to start repaying your student loans after a period of time known as a grace period. The Federal Stafford Loan has a grace period of six months, and the Federal Perkins Loan has a grace period of nine months. Direct and FFEL PLUS loans do not have a grace period. However, graduate and professional student borrowers with Direct and FFEL PLUS loans that were first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008 receive an automatic deferment while in school and a 6-month deferment after they graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, which is comparable to a grace period . Graduate and professional student borrowers will start making payments not more than 60 days after their last deferment ends.
There are several Federal Loan Repayment Plans that are available to you. Most Federal loans default to the Standard Repayment Plan, but you can choose an alternate plan below that best meets your needs. When reviewing the repayment plans below, please be aware that the longer you take to repay your loans, the more you will pay for your loan because you are paying more interest. Also, keep in mind that you can prepay your Stafford Loans and Graduate PLUS Loans at any time without penalty.
For more information on the repayment plans, as well as how to calculate your estimated repayment amount under each plan, please visit the Repayment Plans and Calculators section of the Federal Student Aid’s website.
Extended Graduated Repayment
Pay As You Earn
Consider IBR if you owe more in federal student loans than you make in a year in income, or need to make lower monthly payments. You may qualify for IBR if your federal student loan debt is high relative to your income.
Income-Contingent Repayment (for Direct Loans only)
Income-Sensitive Repayment (for FFEL Loans only)
Loan consolidation will allow you to combine your Federal student loans into a single loan so you can have just one monthly payment. A consolidated loan has a maximum repayment period of 30 years with a fixed interest rate. The interest rate is based on the weighted average of the interest rates on your loans at the time you consolidate them, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent not to exceed 8.25 percent.
If you want to see how many Federal loans you have or if you do not know who your lender or loan servicer is, then you can obtain this information on the U.S. Department of Education’s National Student Data System (NSLDS) at www.nslds.ed.gov. Here you will also be able to access your Federal loan history, and you can view such items as your loan statuses, outstanding balances, loan amounts and disbursement records.
You are eligible to consolidate your Federal loans once you graduate, leave school or drop below half-time enrollment status. Your loan must be in grace, repayment or deferment. Defaulted loans can be consolidated too, but certain other requirements need to be met with your loan holder. If you do not have Federal Direct Loans, you can still be eligible for a Direct Consolidation Loan if you have at least one FFEL Loan and are unable to consolidate with a FFEL lender or are unsatisfied with the FFEL income-sensitive repayment terms or if you want to apply for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
Loan consolidation can have some disadvantages. For instance, the total cost of your loan could increase because you will be paying more interest if you have the longer loan consolidation repayment period of 30 years. If you consolidate during your grace period, the remaining grace period may be lost. There may also be unique disadvantages consolidating your Perkin’s Loan that would need to be considered. You should discuss these issues further with your loan holder because once you consolidate your loans, it cannot be undone.
For more information on loan consolidation, you can review the Loan Consolidation section of the Federal Student Aid’s website. Also, be sure to check out their Consolidation Checklist to help you decide if consolidation is right for you. Another good resource, which includes application instructions for a Direct Consolidation Loan, is the Federal Direct Consolidation Loans Information Center at www.loanconsolidation.ed.gov.
It is very important that you make all of your loan payments on time so you can avoid the consequences of default. If you are having trouble making your payments, you should contact your loan holder immediately because once you are in default, you are not longer eligible for deferments nor forbearances.
A deferment is a temporary postponement of payments on your loan, and the interest does not accrue on Subsidized Loans. You should contact your loan holder for more information or visit the Department of Education’s Postponing Loan Repayment site. Some of the most common reasons lenders grant loan deferments:
Forbearance is another option for temporarily postponing or reducing loan payments if you do not qualify for a deferment. Forbearance may be granted if you meet one of the following requirements:
Your student loans can be canceled or reduced, but only under certain specific circumstances such as death or permanent disability. You should contact your loan holder for more information or visit the Department of Education’s Discharge and Cancelation site.
If you are working in a public service job, then you may qualify for loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Below is a summary of the program and more information can be found at the Department of Education’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness site. Additional helpful information can be found on the Equal Justice Works website. To qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness:
If you do not qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, your loans can be forgiven under the Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan or the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan.
If you are a full-time teacher in an elementary and secondary school that serve low-income families and meet other qualifications, then you may be eligible for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. For more information, please visit the Department of Education’s Stafford Loan Forgiveness Programs for Teachers.
Several lenders offer bar exam loans to assist you in paying for expenses incurred while preparing to take your bar exam. This private loan can finance such items as the bar exam cost, bar review course fees and living expenses while you study for the bar. These loans typically range from $12,000 to $16,000 and you can only apply up to the maximum allowed. In general you can borrow these funds during your last year of law school and for approximately six to twelve months after you graduate. The eligibility, terms, interest rate, fees and application deadlines vary from lender to lender and approval is usually dependent on your credit history. These loans generally have stricter credit criteria so it may be necessary to apply with a co-signer. You should contact lenders directly for more specific information and to apply for the bar loan that best meets your needs. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid with any further general questions.
Villanova University School of Law
299 North Spring Mill Road
Villanova, PA 19085-1682
Academic Year Office Hours:
Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Summer Office Hours:
Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, 9 a.m. to Noon