Information for Recent Graduates
Congratulations on completing your degree program at Pacific Lutheran University. As you exit PLU and move on to graduate school or to the world of work, please note that borrowers of federal student loan programs will need to be in contact with their lenders during your loans’ grace period (the time between leaving school and entering repayment). The grace period for the Federal Stafford/Direct Loan is six months, while the grace period for the Federal Perkins and Nursing Loans is nine months.
You should have already received an email from the Financial Aid Office, advising you to complete the Exit Interview process for these loan programs. If you no longer have this email for reference, you can complete your Perkins or Nursing Loan exit interview at Heartland/ecsi, while the exit interview for the Federal Stafford/Direct or Grad PLUS loans can be completed at www.nslds.ed.gov. The exit interview will provide you with the rights and responsibilities that you need to be aware of as you enter repayment. Be sure that your lender has your current address so you can begin your loan repayment on-schedule and in good standing.
The U.S. Department of Education has contracted with several student loan services to manage the loan portfolios of the millions of loan borrowers each year. Their intent is to have every loan of each borrower assigned to a single servicer. If you find, however, that this isn’t your experience, you may want to consider consolidating your loans into a single Federal Direct Consolidation loan. Get information on the reasons for and against loan consolidation and how to apply for this option.
In the current environment of on-line scams, you need to know the name of your loan servicer so you can set up your loan repayment without the fear of being scammed. One or more servicer will be in contact with you as you enter repayment. To find out which company is servicing your student loans, go to www.nslds.ed.gov. (You login with you SSN and your FSA ID) You WANT to be talking to these folks, especially if you are having trouble making your loan payments. They want to help keep your loans current and in good standing. Talking to your loan servicer might prevent hearing from the US Department of Education’s Debt Collection Service.
As student loan debt has risen in prominence in the media and in legislative chambers, several businesses have created student loan re-financing products for both private and federal student loans.
We are not endorsing these companies, but wish to inform you that they are options that may assist you with managing your student loan debt. Many of these loans offer lower interest rates, no loan origination fees, and an opportunity to pay off your student loans quicker and at a cost savings that could be substantial. They are however, credit based products, many with a required annual income that is above the average salary of a recent college graduate. These loans are also not likely to have the same loan forgiveness, deferment, or forbearance options required of lenders under the federal loan programs so be sure you know what you’d be giving up by re-financing your federal loans. Nevertheless, it may be worth your while to compare their terms and costs against your current loan portfolio.
These companies include: