Most student loans have the following characteristics:
- They are interest-free while you are in school on at least a half-time basis and during the grace period (six to nine months after leaving school). Interest begins to accrue during the repayment period (Exception: Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford/Ford Loan and the Federal Direct PLUS Loan, on which interest begins to accrue when the loan is disbursed).
- Repayment on student loans may be deferred temporarily if you return to school half-time or join the Armed Service, Peace Corps, VISTA, comparable volunteer organizations, or become a law enforcement officer. Some loans offer cancellation provisions based on public service or teaching in low-income service areas.
- You may have up to 10 years to repay the loan, depending on the total amount borrowed or less than 10 years, if by making minimum payments your loan is paid off sooner. The Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford/Ford Loan and Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford/Ford Loan have other repayment options, which may allow you a more flexible time period for repayment.