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These come in the subsidized and unsubsidized varieties. Subsidized means that the federal government will pay the interest on them while you are still in school or if you ask for and receive a grace period or deferment.
Federal Plus Loans
These are given to parents of students and usually the repayment must begin 60-90 days after disbursement. They are low interest loans.
Federal Perkins Loans
These loans are awarded based on extreme financial need and are usually awarded in small dollar amounts. They have very low interest rates and repayment will begin 9 months after the student leaves school or drops below half-time enrollment.
Then there are various Private Loans. These can be obtained from a bank or other lender as well as from the institution you attend.
When you are due to start repaying, you have a choice of plans, otherwise
your federal student loans are automatically placed into the standard repayment
plan, which will apply until you make a change. You make level monthly payments
of principal and interest over the term of the loan – typically 10 years.
Lower your monthly federal student loan payment through a lengthened
repayment term. If you have more than $30,000 federal student loans, you may
qualify for this plan. Eligibility restrictions apply.
With graduated repayment on your federal student loans, your monthly payments
are lower at the beginning of repayment and increase over the term of the
Income-based repayment (IBR) offers an opportunity to make affordable
payments on Stafford, Grad PLUS, and most federal consolidation loans (excluding
those with Parent PLUS Loans). This payment plan is designed to assist those who
have high student debt levels relative to their incomes.
Income-sensitive repayment (available only for FFELP loans)
Payments on your federal student loans are based on a percentage of your
monthly income - from 4% to 25% - as long as you pay at least the interest that
accrues every month. In certain circumstances, payments can be less than
interest through the use of reduced-payment forbearance.
Income-contingent repayment and Pay As You Earn (available only for Federal
You can base your monthly payment amount on your adjusted gross income,
family size and the total amount of your loans.
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Also, consolidation is an option as well. Using one of the free budget services like www.mint.com will help out. You can input all of your loans, banks accounts, credit cards, etc. This site will not only help you set up a budget but will also help you save money by helping you find lower rates.