During Repayment

You are responsible to pay your loan(s) according to the terms and conditions of the loan and to request assistance as soon as possible if needed. But federal student loans offer many options to assist you during repayment.

Credit reporting

Your student loans are reported to the national credit bureaus and updates will be reported monthly for the life of your loan.

  • A favorable credit rating from these loans will put you in good standing when you need credit elsewhere.
  • A bad credit rating will affect your financial opportunities for an extended period of time and remains on your credit report for seven years.
  • Periods of deferment and forbearance do not adversely affect your credit.

Postponing payments

Contact your loan servicer(s) immediately if you are unable to meet your repayment responsibilities. Your servicer can provide information about the options available to assist you which may include deferment or forbearance. If you have multiple loan servicer(s), any request for deferment or forbearance must be submitted to each of your loan servicers.

Upon receipt of your request, your loan servicer(s) will notify you of the approval or denial of it. You are responsible to make your payments on time until you receive notification that your request has been approved.


Deferment is a period of time in which you are not required to make monthly payments towards your loan. The circumstances in which you can receive deferment depend on the type of loan. 

Federal student loans provide a variety of deferment options including during periods when the borrower is enrolled at least half-time and during periods of economic hardship and unemployment.

Your loan servicer(s) will provide information regarding eligibility criteria and forms to submit your request for deferment. If you have multiple loan servicers, you must submit any deferment request to each loan servicer.

Direct subsidized/unsubsidized, FFEL Stafford, PLUS loan, Perkins loans

  • Deferment information at StudentAid.gov and from your loan servicer(s).

Perkins loans, awarded by SPU

  • Deferment information and forms to request deferment at Heartland ECSI.
  • Perkins loans that have fully utilized the grace period provided after you have dropped to less than half-time, withdrawing, or graduating will receive a post-deferment six-month grace period following an in-school, economic hardship, or any other type of deferment. This does not apply to forbearance.

Nursing loans, awarded by SPU

  • Deferment information and forms to request deferment at Heartland ECSI.
  • Nursing loans have specific eligibility criteria for in-school deferment. Contact Student Financial Services for assistance.
  • Nursing loans provide in-school deferment only if you are enrolled in an eligible nursing program.

SPU institutional loans

  • Institutional loans have specific eligibility criteria for in-school deferment.
  • Institutional loans provide in-school deferment only if you are enrolled at least half-time at SPU.
  • Contact Student Financial Services for assistance.


Forbearance is a period of time in which you either have reduced monthly payments or monthly payments are stopped. 

Forbearance may be requested if you do not meet eligibility criteria for deferment.

  • Forbearance is approved at the discretion of the loan servicer.
  • It is not an automatic benefit.
  • Interest accrues during any period of forbearance and may be paid during the forbearance period.

For Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized, FFEL Stafford, PLUS and alternative loans, contact your loan servicer.

For Perkins, Nursing, and SPU Institutional loans, find forbearance information at Heartland ECSI or by contacting Student Financial Services.

Delinquency, default, collection

If your loan has been delinquent (monthly payments have either been missed or sent in late) for an extended period of time — and you failed to make payments on your student loan according to the terms of your promissory note — your loan may go into default. View some consequences, and ways to prevent, default.

Cancellation and deferment options for teachers

Direct, Stafford and Perkins loans can provide at least partial loan cancellation for teachers serving in a low-income or subject-matter shortage area. Review the Cancellation/Deferment Options for Teachers page information at StudentAid.gov for more information.

Perkins loan forgiveness (cancellation)

Perkins loans provide cancellation provisions for full-time employment in a variety of service-related jobs. Review the information regarding eligible service employment and forms for Perkins loan cancellation benefits.

Deferment in anticipation of cancellation may be requested at the beginning of an eligible year of employment. The borrower is responsible for submitting deferment and cancellation requests promptly to the loan servicer, Heartland ECSI. Forms may also be submitted to Student Financial Services at SPU. If not filed on time, eligibility for the benefits may be lost and late fees may be assessed.

Public service loan forgiveness

Under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, if you are employed in a public service job, you may have the balance of your loans forgiven if you make 120 on-time monthly payments under certain repayment plans after October 1, 2007.

  • You must be employed full-time in a public service job during the same period in which the qualifying payments are made and at the time that the cancellation is granted.
  • The amount forgiven is the remaining outstanding balance of principal and accrued interest on eligible Direct loans that are not in default.
  • Review the Public Service Loan Forgiveness page at StudentAid.gov for additional details.

NURSE Corps loan repayment program

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program (NELRP), which is a competitive program that repays 60 percent of the qualifying loan balance of registered nurses selected for funding in exchange for two years of service at a critical shortage facility.

Participants may be eligible to work a third year and receive an additional 25 percent of the qualifying loan balance. See additional information about this program.