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/December (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.

If you have used your six-month grace period for Stafford Loans (and previous Graduate 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, you need to complete federal loan 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. To view all of your federal loans from all institutions, please visit NSLDS. Remember that all of your federal loans may be consolidated if you wish; private loans and Bar Study loans cannot be consolidated. It is recommended for you to use on-line calculators to get an estimate of what your loan repayment obligation looks like under various repayment plans.

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 Graduate PLUS). All graduates may consolidate through https://studentloans.gov/.  

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 10years 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 had no loan balance as of October 7, 1998 have outstanding loan balances 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 and Fact 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 will 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 will pay taxes on forgiven amount).

Pay as You Earn– PAYE – (tax disclosure consent required): You are eligible for PAYE did not owe any money on any federal student loan as of October 1, 2007and received a disbursement of a Direct Loan on or after October 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 will 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 AUWCL 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 Graduate 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
  • Pay as You Earn (PAYE) 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).

AUWCL Public Interest Loan Repayment Assistance Program (PILRAP)

Central to the educational mission of the American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) is the belief that law is based on the inherent dignity of all individuals. AUWCL graduates have a proud history of building upon that core belief. Many of AUWCL's alumni enter into careers for the public interest, carrying forward the institution's long-standing commitment to use the law as a tool for positive change in our society. Given the cost of higher education and the resulting debt burden with which students graduate, a career in public interest is often not economically viable unless graduates invest time and energy in learning how to manage debt. It is important that public interest lawyers avail themselves of the repayment plans and assistance programs offered by the federal government. As a demonstration of its ongoing commitment to supporting graduates who apply the law to the greater good, AUWCL implemented an invaluable assistance program, the Public Interest Loan Repayment Assistance Program (PILRAP).

PILRAP helps relieve the educational debt burden by providing loan repayment assistance to qualifying JD graduates who work full-time in certain non-profit or government positions.

To learn more about PILRAP, visit http://www.wcl.american.edu/finaid/pilrapii.cfm or contact the AUWCL Financial Aid Office at finaid@wcl.american.edu or 202-274-4040.

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!