Financial Literacy & Repayment
There are many resources available to assist you in borrowing responsibly while in school and repaying your federal student loans after leaving Butler. We encourage you to review all of your options and, most importantly, to understand there are no fees charged for consolidating your federal student loans or selecting/changing your payment plan. If you are contacted by someone offering these services for a fee, you are not dealing with a federal loan servicer. You should never pay for these services.
A complete list of federal loan servicers can be found here.
If you are unsure who your federal loan servicer is, you can find your servicer’s name and contact information at the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).
Please review the sections below for information about each stage of the student loan process.
The first step in borrowing responsibly is ensuring you do not borrow more than you need. Here are some ways you can limit the amount you borrow:
- Complete the FAFSA by March 1 each year. March 1 is Butler’s priority deadline and will ensure you receive maximum consideration for all gift assistance as well as consideration for state aid if you are an Indiana resident.
- Apply for outside scholarships. You can apply for scholarships throughout your academic career. You can search for outside scholarships through websites like:
- Pay the accruing interest on Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans. When you enter repayment on your loans any unpaid interest will capitalize and be added to your principal loan balance. Paying the interest as it accrues will lower your monthly payments in the future.
- Know the total amount you have borrowed. We recommend that students complete Financial Awareness Counseling at least once per year at studentaid.gov. This interactive counseling session will allow you to track your borrowing, provide you with information on the basics of financial management and budgeting, as well as help you estimate your future monthly loan payment.
- Complete loan exit counseling. You will receive notification from the Office of Financial Aid during your last semester advising you to complete this required counseling. This interactive counseling session will inform you of your Federal Direct Loan balance, describe the available repayment plan options, and allow you to compare monthly payments for each plan.
- Keep your loan servicer in the loop. It is important to keep your federal loan servicer up to date with your current contact information. If you move or get a new email address, let your servicer know so you do not miss out on important communications from them.
- Sign up for online account access. You have the ability to sign up for online account access with your federal loan servicer. Through their site, you can update your contact information, see when loan payments are due, and select your repayment plan.
- Start budgeting. Keep track of your monthly income and expenses. This will make it easier when you begin repayment on your Federal Direct Loans to incorporate those monthly payments into your budget. Remember that repayment begins six months after you graduate, so use that time wisely to prepare for when repayment will begin.
For more information on preparing to repay your loans, watch this video from Federal Student Aid.
- Automate your payments. Sign up for auto-debit through your federal loan servicer to ensure you never miss a payment.
- Prevent delinquency and default. If you are having difficulty repaying your loans, contact your loan servicer. There are many options available to assist you in loan repayment, which may include:
- Changing your payment due date
- Changing your repayment plan. Check out these repayment calculators for different payment plans
- Consolidating your loans
- Requesting a deferment or forbearance
For more information on how to manage your student loans, watch this video from Federal Student Aid.
What is consolidation?
Direct Loan Consolidation is an option to simplify your loan repayment process. It allows you to take the federal loans you have accumulated throughout your college career and combine them into one loan with a single monthly payment. This option may lower your monthly payment by extending the repayment period and offer the possibility of switching variable rate loans to a fixed rate loan. Generally, you are eligible to consolidate after you graduate, leave school or drop below half-time enrollment. Check out the other advantages of consolidating your federal education loans at the Federal Student Aid website.
Private student loans cannot be consolidated with your federal student loans. However, your private lender may offer a consolidation option or you may be able to go through another private loan consolidation servicer. A new credit check may be required when consolidating private loans and some have found that repayment under their original plans is a better option. For more information on consolidating private student loans, please review FinAid.org and The Simple Dollar.
How do I consolidate my loans?
Applications for Direct Loan consolidation can be found at Studentaid.gov. You can complete and submit the application online, or you can download and print a paper application from StudentLoans.gov for submission by U.S. mail.
To consolidate your private loans, you will need to contact your lender. For additional information on consolidation from the following private lenders please visit: Discover Loans, Citizens Bank.