Loan Repayment and Debt Management Information for Alumni

This site is intended to offer you tools to manage your student loan repayment process, as well as keeping yourself informed on developments that may affect your student loan repayment contact with loan servicing agencies and the Department of Education.

We also want to provide information for our Public Interest and Public Service graduates with information regarding loan repayment assistance programs and the government’s public service loan forgiveness program.

For most graduates your federal Stafford loans will enter repayment in November (about six months after graduation). The servicing agent for your loans will contact you in the fall (about three months from start of repayment) with information about how the repayment process will work. Keeping in touch with your loan servicer is imperative – especially for name and address changes.

Your will need to contact the servicing center for Direct Lending (https://www.dl.ed.gov/borrower/contactUs.do?BORROWER=1) and request deferment or forbearance for your Direct Grad PLUS loans as these loans otherwise will go into repayment soon after graduation.

If you have used your grace period for Stafford Loans (and previous Grad PLUS loans), these loans will go into repayment immediately. Since most graduates will not be able to make payments immediately they may need to arrange further deferment or forbearance with the loan servicer. If your loans will go into repayment immediately, please be proactive and contact your servicer before graduation

From Graduation to Repayment: What You Need to do During Your Grace Period

Shortly before graduation, but certainly before you begin your Bar Study preparation courses, you need to complete Exit Counseling. Go to www.studentloans.gov, sign in and select the Exit Counseling button. The session takes about 15 minutes and is required of federal student loan borrowers.

Watch your mail for correspondence from your lenders and/or from your federal loan servicer. This is important information and you need to pay attention. If (as above) you have loans entering repayment immediately, you need to know about it in order to take appropriate action.

Study hard and pass your Bar Exam -- Good Luck!

Collect all of your student loan records, including undergraduate and private loans if you have them. Check your information on the lender and/or servicer's website(s) and make sure they have your most up to date information. Revisit NSLDS and look at your federal loan records. Remember that all of your federal loans may be consolidated if you wish; private loans and Bar Study loans cannot be consolidated.

Use some on-line calculators to get an estimate of what your loan repayment obligation looks like.

If you need to, contact your financial aid counselor for advice on consolidation or if you have questions regarding your loans.

Loan Consolidation and Repayment Plans

You may need or desire to consolidate your federal student loans (Stafford subsidized and unsubsidized AND Grad PLUS). All graduates may consolidate through federal Direct Lending at:

https://loanconsolidation.ed.gov/AppEntry/apply-online/appindex.jsp

During your application process, you will need to refer to your loan record at NSLDS for individual loan amounts, interest rates, servicer and other important information.

You will also be asked to select a Repayment Plan Program. You may select from one of these five programs:

Standard Repayment: equal payments over 10-30 years to completely pay off the loan

Graduated Repayment: payments begin at lower amount and increase gradually (about every 2 years) – which plan incurs higher accumulated interest on principal over life of the loan

Extended Repayment (graduated or fixed payments): eligibility limited to those who 1-had no DL balance on 10/7/98 or began DL later AND have outstanding DL loans in amount greater than $30,000. Repayment not more than 25 years under either graduated or fixed payment choice.

Income Driven Repayment Plans

These plans qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness and are eligible to be forgiven after 120 qualifying payments (tax free). Additional resources are available from the U.S. Department of Education:Information Page,Questions and Answers, andFact Sheet(PDF).

Income Contingent Repayment – ICR – (tax disclosure consent required): Payments based on AGI, family size and total amount of DL loans. Payments change with income changes; if not repaid in 25 years unpaid portion will be forgiven (at present, you may need to pay taxes on forgiven amount).

Income Based Repayment– IBR – (tax disclosure consent required): Monthly payment amounts will be 15 percent of your discretionary income – adjusted annually. If not repaid in 25 years unpaid portion will be forgiven (at present, you may need to pay taxes on forgiven amount).

Pay as You Earn– PAYE – (tax disclosure consent required): You are eligible for PAYEif and only ifyou; did not owe any money on any federal student loan as of Oct. 1, 2007, and; received a disbursement of a Direct Loan on or after Oct. 1, 2011. Monthly payment amounts will be 10 percent of your discretionary income – adjusted annually. If not repaid in 25 years unpaid portion will be forgiven (at present, you may need to pay taxes on forgiven amount).

Repayment Calculators

The website www.finaid.org has several calculators, so you can look at repayment in different ways with different personal circumstance scenarios. There are other on-line calculators available.

Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness and WCL Public Interest Loan Repayment Assistance

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program was created to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs. Under this program, graduates may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on eligible federal student loans after making 120 payments on qualifying loans under certain repayment plans while employed full time by certain public service employers.

Only non-defaulted loans made under the Direct Loan Program are eligible for loan forgiveness. The Direct Loan Program includes the following types of loans:

  • Federal Direct Stafford Loans (Direct Subsidized Loans)
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans (Direct Unsubsidized Loans)
  • Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loans (Direct PLUS Loans)
  • Federal Direct Consolidation Loans (Direct Consolidation Loans)

The 120 required payments must be made under one or more of the following Direct Loan Program repayment plans:

  • Income Based Repayment (IBR) Plan
  • Income Contingent Repayment Plan
  • Standard Repayment Plan with a 10-year repayment period

For more information, view these U.S. Department of Education resources: Information Page, Questions and Answers and Fact Sheet (PDF).

WCL Public Interest Loan Repayment Assistance Program (PILRAP)

WCL's Public Interest Loan Repayment Assistance Program (PILRAP) helps relieve economic burden imposed by educational debt by providing loan repayment assistance for JD graduates who work in full-time non-profit or government service in which the graduate is engaged in serving under-represented or traditionally marginalized populations.

Under the terms of PILRAP-II (for graduates from the Class of 2008 and after), qualifying applicants who earn less than $75,000 are eligible to receive financial assistance for repayment of law school loans. PILRAP-II awards will be calculated based on an applicant's annual IBR payment. Applicants earning less than $50,000 will be eligible for loan repayment assistance up to 100 percent of their annual IBR loan payment obligation, while applicants earning between $50,001 and $75,000 are eligible for loan repayment assistance on a prorated basis. Once in the program, a graduate remains eligible to receive funding from PILRAP-II for up to ten years.

For more information, visit http://www.wcl.american.edu/finaid/pilrap.cfm or contact program administrator, David Steib, at dsteib@wcl.american.edu or 202-274-4099.

Contact Information

The Office of Financial Aid wants to help our graduates. If you have questions about the repayment of your law school loans, please contact us at 202-274-4040 or finaid@wcl.american.edu. We are happy to assist you!