Loan Grace Period: Grace Has Left The Building
May 19th, 2016 by Lette Berhe
For recent college graduates, between the celebrations, the job hunt, and just simply enjoying summer, you may have put thoughts of your student loans on the back burner. You may have remembered that your loan qualified for a grace period , but can´t remember exactly how long it was and don´t know how to enter into the world of loan repayments. Here are some tips to get you started on the right foot!
Double-check Your Calendar
Although, you haven´t been stressed about repaying your loans, the minimum grace period allotted tends to be about 6 months so your repayment season is more than likely approaching. Remember that lenders consider you a responsible adult who now has a debt to pay. This means you should not wait for them to contact you! If you´ve pushed your loans out of your mind for a while, now is the time to do all your research. To find out how long your grace period really is you can do the following:
- Read your loan promissory note:
Don´t remember what that is? Your loan promissory note is the contract you signed at the very beginning promising that you would repay your loan. It holds detailed information about your loan amount, the grace period, and the repayment plan you originally chose.
- Contact your lender: Can´t seem to find your promissory note or feeling a little overwhelmed looking over the paperwork? Whatever the case remember that your lender is only a phone call away. Don´t hesitate to take the time to contact your lender directly to discuss the details.
Research Your Options
Your promissory note may be a signed contract, but this does not mean that everything is set in stone. In general, lenders want to be paid back. What does this mean? It means that they are usually willing to work with you from the beginning to ensure that you will make on-time payments. The grace period you are given is meant to give you time to find work and establish yourself after graduating. However, things don´t always work out just the way we planned. If your financial situation isn´t where you would like it to be you have some options:
- Extend your grace period or request deferment: Not all lenders or loans provide this option, but it is worth looking into. If you are unemployed or going through financial hardship, it is possible that your lender will give you a little extra time. Depending on your lender, this can be considered an extension on your current grace period or fall under the category of deferment, a postponement of your loan payments. Being aware of what option they offer you is important, because you may only be eligible to request it once.
- Review your repayment plan:
As previously mentioned, all the details of your loan are spelled out on your promissory note. If financially you aren’t where you would like to be, but you think you can still begin to make payments, another option is to try and switch repayment plans. Lenders are aware that your originally chosen repayment plan may not fit your current situation and will be able to help you choose a better option.
By following these two steps you will be fully informed and ready to jump into the world of loan repayment. Take the time to do your research and don´t be afraid to ask questions. It is better to go into loan repayment fully prepared so that you never have to miss a payment!
For more information regarding your student loans, be sure to check out our International Student Loan Advice section.