What are Entrance and Exit Interviews?

If you have federal student loans, you will be required  to complete an entrance interview prior to receiving a loan and an exit interview before you graduate. Entrance interviews help you understand your student loan responsibilities. Exit interviews are used to inform you about your repayment obligations and options. 

What is a grace period?

After you leave school, you may be entitled to a period during which you aren't required to make student loan payments. Although this applies to all federal loans, not all private student loans afford you this option so make sure to check with your lender to determine when you will need to begin making payments on your loans. The RISLA Student Loan has a 6 month grace period after the student leaves school.

What do I need to know before I enter repayment?

  • When your first loan payment is due
  • How much you will have to pay each month
  • Your servicer – the company which administers the loan for the lender – send monthly bills, handles customer service, processes payments (sometimes the servicer is the same company as the lender, sometimes it is not).
  • Who you should contact if you change your name, address, phone number or social security number
  • Where to send your payments or where you can pay online

Can I change my repayment schedule?

Federal loans offer several repayment options. Repayment schedules for state-based or private student student loans may be limited or may need to be chosen before you borrow, so research your options and choose wisely.

Which option is best for you on your federal loans depends on your individual circumstances. 

  • Standard/Level - Monthly payments that remain level over the life of the loan. 
  • Graduated - Payments start lower and increase every 2 years for the life of the loan. Typically, this option will result in greater interest charges over the life of the loan. 
  • Extended – For balances $30,000 or more. Increases the repayment term to up to 25 years, thereby lowering your monthly payment. A longer repayment term means you will pay more in interest charges over the life of the loan. 
  • Income-Sensitive/Income-Based/Pay-as-you-Earn - Payments are adjusted annually according to income.

What is deferment and forbearance?

Your lender may grant you a temporary postponement of payments called a deferment or forbearance. Whether you receive a deferment or forbearance depends on your eligibility. If you are going to back to school at least half time, you are unemployed, in the military or performing another public service, or having trouble making your student loan payments for any other reason, contact your lender or student loan servicer to see if you qualify for a deferment or forbearance.

Can my loan be forgiven?

The federal government will forgive all or a portion of a federal education loan under certain circumstances. In order to qualify, you must be active in the military, performing volunteer work, practice medicine in certain communities, teach in high need areas, or meet other criteria . To learn more about the different types of federal loan forgiveness, visit studentaid.ed.gov. RISLA also offers loan forgiveness and reward programs. Loans may also be forgiveness in the unfortunate circumstance the student passes away. Contact your individual lender for details.

What happens if I default on my student loan?

Defaulting on your student loans has many serious consequences. If you are having trouble making payments, remember to call your student loan lender or servicer to learn about your deferment and forbearance options or to see if you qualify for a different repayment schedule. If you default on a student loan, you may:

  • Be ineligible for federal and private student aid in the future. 
  • Lose your deferment and forbearance options. 
  • Have to pay your entire loan balance immediately. 
  • Pay additional costs if your account is turned over to a collection agency or attorneys. 
  • Hurt your credit and therefore your ability to borrow in the future, rent an apartment, or even get a job. 
  • Have your federal or state tax return withheld so that it can be applied to your defaulted loan balance.
  • Have your wages garnished which means your employer would know you owed money to someone.