Making Payments FAQ

Getting Started

Can I make a payment on my loan within 120 days of the disbursement date?

Yes. In most cases, we apply any payment received within 120 days to your principal balance, effective the disbursement date. Because this payment reduces your original principal balance, we call it a "cancellation payment."

As a result of your cancellation payment, we also adjust your loan fees and any applicable interest. Loan fees and interest will now be based on the new reduced principal balance.

What happens if my school submits a refund for my loan?

We apply any refund that we receive from your school to your principal balance, effective the date of your loan's disbursement. As a result, we also adjust your loan fees and any applicable interest. Loan fees and interest will now be based on the new reduced principal balance.

When must I begin paying back my loan? Do I get a grace period?

  • If you have a Direct or Stafford Loan (subsidized or unsubsidized)—You get a 6-month grace period that begins the day after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time status. You must start making payments as soon as your grace period ends.
  • If you have a PLUS Loan for Graduate and Professional Students—You can postpone payments while you are enrolled at least half time. If your PLUS Loan was first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008, you can also postpone payments for the 6 months after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time status.
  • If you have a PLUS Loan for Parents—If your loan was disbursed before July 1, 2008, you must start making payments within 60 days of the final disbursement date. However, if your loan was disbursed on or after July 1, 2008, you can request to postpone payments while the student for whom you obtained the PLUS Loan is enrolled at least half time. You may also request to postpone payments for the 6 months after the student is no longer enrolled at least half time.

What is a grace period?

Find the definition in our glossary.

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Paying Your Monthly Bill

How do I make a payment to FedLoan Servicing?

We accept the following methods of payment:

Direct Debit

Simply designate a checking or savings account, and we automatically deduct your loan payment on the same day each month.

Learn more about Direct Debit.

Online Payment

Make a one-time payment through Account Access.

Learn more about paying online.

Smart Phone Payment

Make a one-time payment from your smart phone.

Learn more about paying by smart phone.

Phone Payment

Call our automated phone system and provide your account number and your bank's ABA (routing and transit) number.

Check or Money Order

Send your check or money order (include your account number) to:

U.S. Department of Education
FedLoan Servicing
P.O. Box 530210
Atlanta, GA 30353-0210

How do you apply my monthly payment?

We first apply your payment to any interest that has accrued to date. We then apply any remaining payment to your principal balance.

Get more information about how we apply your monthly payments.

Can I pay more than the monthly payment amount?

Yes. There is no limit to the amount you may pay each month.

If you want to pay more than your monthly amount, you can do so online, over the phone, or by check or money order. You can also request that we withdraw more than the monthly amount through Direct Debit, if you use this service.

Discover the benefits of paying ahead of schedule.

Why isn't my principal going down?

See how we apply your monthly payments.

Can you automatically deduct my payments from my bank account every month?

Yes, we offer an automated payment service called Direct Debit. It's free, it's convenient, and you will qualify for a 0.25% interest rate reduction for using this service.

Find out how to apply for Direct Debit.

Can I make a payment on a borrower's account if I am not the borrower?

Yes. To make a payment on a borrower's account, mail the payment to:

U.S. Department of Education
FedLoan Servicing
P.O. Box 530210
Atlanta, GA 30353-0210

Important: Include the borrower's account number with your payment.

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Targeting Payments

Can I target an online payment to a specific loan?

Yes. Our online payment feature allows you to target a payment to a specific loan. To target a specific payment:

Step 1: Sign in to your account.
Step 2: Select the "Specify Loan Payment Amount" tab.
Step 3: Input the amount you wish to pay toward each individual loan in the "Payment Amount" field.
Step 4: Hit the "Make a Payment" button.

If I pay by phone or mail how do I target a payment?

The easiest way to target a payment is online. If you prefer to use one of the other ways to pay, contact us after you send your payment or pay by phone. We will then reapply your payment, but only if it doesn't make your account delinquent.

NOTE: Please do not write directions on how to target your payment on the note or memo section of your check.

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Trouble Making Payments

I can't afford my full payment amount. What are my options?

If you're having trouble making your payments, don't wait until you fall behind to seek assistance. We have options that can help.

Learn More

I need to postpone my loan payments. How do I choose the right deferment or forbearance for me?

A deferment or forbearance lets you temporarily postpone loan payments. To find the option that best fits your situation, take our Eligibility Quiz:

Step 1 Sign in to Account Access.
Step 2 Select the "Manage Repayment" link on the left.
Step 3 Choose "Take the Eligibility Quiz Now".

The quiz provides the deferment and forbearance options for which you may be eligible based on your circumstances. You can apply for some options online; others require that you complete a form and send it to us for processing.

I am serving in AmeriCorps. Can I place a hold on my account?

Yes. While serving in AmeriCorps, you are eligible to postpone federal loan payments with a forbearance. Apply for this forbearance through your secure account on the AmeriCorps website at

Or contact your AmeriCorps Program Director to request a paper application.

I am serving in the Peace Corps. Can I postpone my loan payments?

Yes. You may be eligible for an Economic Hardship Deferment to postpone your federal student loan payments based on your service in the Peace Corps.

Does interest accrue on my loan while I have a deferment or forbearance?

Yes. Interest accrues on your loan, but you may not be responsible for paying it. It depends on the type of loan you have and whether you have a deferment or forbearance.

If you have a deferment… If you have a forbearance…

Subsidized loans—The government pays the interest that accrues.*

Unsubsidized loans—You are responsible for paying the interest that accrues.

All loans—You are responsible for paying the interest that accrues.

If you are responsible for paying the interest that accrues, you will receive an interest notice 20 days before the end of your deferment or forbearance advising of the total amount of outstanding interest. Any interest that you do not pay will capitalize (be added to your principal balance) when the deferment or forbearance ends. Capitalization increases your principal balance, meaning you will pay more over the life of the loan.

* NOTE: If you are a first-time borrower on or after July 1, 2013, you could potentially lose the subsidy on your subsidized student loan if you do not complete your degree or certificate within 150% of the "normal time" allotted for completing the program in which you are enrolled.

The loss of subsidy means you would be responsible for paying the interest during periods of enrollment and any grace or deferment periods.

What happens to my Direct Debit if I request a deferment or forbearance?

To prevent an unwanted withdrawal while your deferment or forbearance request is being processed, contact us to suspend your Direct Debit service. We automatically suspend your Direct Debit service once your deferment or forbearance is approved.

At the end of your deferment or forbearance, your Direct Debit service will resume on your regularly scheduled due date, unless you notify us that you no longer want to participate in this service.

How would a deferment or forbearance affect my credit score?

If the status of your account reflects a deferment or forbearance, you will be reported as being current to each major credit bureau.

If a deferment or forbearance is applied retroactively to cover a period of delinquency, you will be reported as being current on future credit reports submitted to each major credit bureau. However, any credit reporting submitted prior to the certification of the deferment or forbearance will remain.*

*Unless the deferment or forbearance requires an authorized official certification.

I applied for a deferment/forbearance with my previous servicer. Do I need to re-apply with FedLoan Servicing?

  • If your previous servicer approved your deferment or forbearance before your loan was transferred, you do not need to re-apply.
  • If you did not receive confirmation from your previous servicer regarding the outcome of your request, please contact us to determine if additional action is necessary to complete the application process.

Learn more about deferment and forbearance.

Can I cancel my deferment or forbearance?

Yes. You have the option to cancel a deferment or forbearance. By doing so, we will place your loans into repayment. Any unpaid outstanding interest at the end of the deferment or forbearance will be capitalized (added to your principal balance).

As an alternative to cancelling a deferment or forbearance, we encourage you to make payments when you are able to reduce the amount paid over the life of the loans.

NOTE: If you have subsidized loans and cancel your deferment, you will lose the benefit of the U.S. Department of Education paying the accrued interest during this period.

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Affected by a Natural Disaster

I've been impacted by a major disaster, and can't afford my loan payments. What should I do?

When a disaster impacts your ability to make your on-time monthly payments, it is important that you contact us immediately even if you're not sure if your situation is considered a "major" disaster. We may be able to help provide temporary relief from your student loan payments while you recover as long as you call, or notify us of your situation in writing, providing the following details:

  1. Type of Disaster (i.e. hurricane, tornado, etc.)
  2. The date you were affected
  3. Where/How you were impacted (i.e. home, work, etc.)

What qualifies as a major disaster?

A natural catastrophe in any part of the United States, which the President determines causes damage of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant major disaster assistance to supplement the efforts and available resources of States, local governments, and disaster relief organization in alleviating the damage, loss, hardship, or suffering caused by the disaster.

If you've been affected by a disaster, and require assistance, notify us immediately. Depending on the type of the disaster, you may be eligible for temporary relief of your student loan obligations.

Examples may include, but are not limited to: a hurricane, tornado, storm, high water, wind driven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm or drought, or, regardless of cause, any fire, flood, or explosion.

How does postponing payments during a major disaster affect Public Service Loan Forgiveness?

If you request to postpone your payments while you recover from a major disaster, you will not receive credit towards loan forgiveness for the affected billing period.

However, during the 30 days following the disaster declaration, if you are able to make your full month's payment within 20 days of the payment due date, you will receive credit for the on-time payment.

What should I do if deadlines are approaching to submit required documentation for my student loan programs?

If you are living in an area impacted by a major disaster, and anticipate issues with meeting documentation deadlines on your account, please contact us immediately! We may be able to provide temporary assistance to help you avoid issues with meeting specialty program deadlines. This includes documents such as certification for TEACH Grants and annual re-certifications for Income-Driven Repayment plans.

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Total and Permanent Disability Loan Discharge

What is a Total and Permanent Disability Loan Discharge?

If you have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or are a veteran with a service-connected condition, you may qualify for a discharge, based on a total and permanent disability.

How do I apply?

Contact the Nelnet Total and Permanent Disability Servicer for further information on the discharge and to obtain an application.




U.S. Department of Education
P.O. Box 87130
Lincoln, NE 68501

Overnight Delivery:
U.S. Department of Education
121 South 13th Street, Suite 201
Lincoln, NE 68508

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Paying Off Your Loan

Can I pay off my loan early, before my repayment period ends?

Yes. You can pay your loan in full at any time without penalty.

Learn more about paying off your loan.

I want to pay off my loan. How do I submit my final payment?

Sign in to Account Access to find out the amount of your loan payoff and make the payment online.

Sign in to your account now.

Why is my loan payoff amount different from my principal balance?

The balance listed on your bill is principal only. The payoff amount includes accrued interest.

Learn more about paying off your loan.

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