Repaying Student Loans

While you are enrolled at least half-time time (six credit hours as an undergraduate, or four credit hours as a graduate student) your student loans will be in an “in-school deferment” status.  This means you are not required to make payments on your federal loans.  It is a good idea, if you are able, to make payments on your loans while you are enrolled.  This will help reduce your overall indebtedness when you leave school.

Once your enrollment drops to less than half-time, your federal loans will enter a grace period status.  The grace period is a length of time during which you are not required to make payments on your loans.

The length of the grace period depends on the type of loan that you have borrowed.  Direct Loans have a six-month grace period while the Perkins Loan offers a nine-month grace period. Note that not all students will have Perkins Loans.  All student loans must be repaid, per your loan agreement/master promissory note.

See what you might pay by using the Federal Loan Simulator. Loan Simulator helps you calculate student loan payments and choose a loan repayment option that best meets your needs and goals. You can also use it to decide whether to consolidate your student loans.

Reduce your initial debt by borrowing less

Annual federal loan eligibility may be greater than your eventual earning potential. Those loan maximums might be more than you will be able to repay, damaging your credit rating. That, in turn, may increase the amount you pay in the future for credit, keep you from getting further credit entirely, or could mean higher insurance rates (in some states). So do not borrow more than you need!

Loan Repayment Steps

Step One: Identify Your Student Loans

Federal Student Loans - Sign in to the Student Aid to view the federal loans that you have borrowed.

Private Student Loans - Log in to MyNMU -> Financial Aid - Information -> Award -> Award History.  You will see the name and amount of each private loan that you have borrowed.

Step Two: Complete Exit Counseling

Direct Loan Exit Counseling is completed on-line at  After logging in choose Complete Counseling then Exit Counseling.

Perkins Loan Exit Counseling may be completed on-line at  If you have questions about Perkins Loan Exit Counseling call 906-227-1428.

An Exit Counseling guide PDF can be found here:

Step Three: Determine Your Federal Loan Servicer

The Direct Loan Exit Counseling confirmation page provides students with name of the federal loan servicer. You may also view your servicer's contact information on Visit your account dashboard and scroll down to the “My Loan Servicers” section.

Federal Loan ServicerContact
Default Resolution Group1-800-621-3115 (TTY: 1-877-9923 for the deaf or hard of hearing)
Perkins Loans1-906-227-2062
Department of Education - Federal Student Aid1-800-433-3243

Step Four: Create an Account on Your Servicer's Website

  • Find out when your grace period ends.
  • Find out when your first payment is due.
  • Determine your monthly payment amount.

Step Five: Choose a Federal Student Loan Repayment Plan

You may choose from the following repayment plans.  Be sure to review the terms and conditions of each repayment type and use the Repayment Estimator to calculate the payment plan that works best for you.  Some repayment plans require that you provide proof of your income.  This may be completed with your servicer or on Types of Repayment Plans:

Step Six: Setup Repayment of Your Private Student Loans and Perkins Loan

Exit Counseling

Loan exit counseling

Just prior to graduation, or if you drop below half-time enrollment, you will need to complete loan exit counseling. This is an interactive tool that provides the information you need to know about repaying your federal student loans.

Our office will notify you to let you know how to get started with your exit counseling.

Exit counseling for a Federal Perkins Loan

Federal Perkins Loans are managed by NMU’s Perkins Loan Collection Office, and the exit counseling process is different.

Do you work in a non-profit or the government sector?


If you have questions about whether or not your payments on your Federal Direct Loans are counting towards Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Please use the PSLF Help Tool, found at to initiate a review of your payment count. As this is a federal loan waiver program, any questions will be best answered through link:



Northern Michigan University is a qualifying employer under Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

For help navigating the monitoring process while you make payments, NMU has partnered with SAVI. To learn more about this free benefit, see our Student Loan Debt Solution page.

Consolidate your loans

If you have more than one federal student loan, you may be able to consolidate them into a single loan with one monthly payment. This payment can be quite a bit lower than your total monthly payments on multiple loans.



  • You have a potential for lower monthly payments.


  • You may lose some discharge (cancellation) benefits if you include a Federal Perkins Loan in a consolidation loan
  • You will have a single monthly payment for multiple loans.


  • If you extend your repayment period, you may pay more interest over time.
  • The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan.
  • Once a consolidation has been completed, you cannot reverse it—the original loans no longer exist, because they are paid off by the consolidation.
  • You may have flexible repayment options.




Defaulting on your Federal Direct or Perkins Loans

Failing to repay a loan according to the terms of the Loan Agreement/Master Promissory Note (MPN) you signed, means you may default on the loan. Default occurs if you do not pay on time or if you do not comply with other terms of your MPN. Please visit this link for more information:

What are the consequences of defaulting?

If you default on a federal loan, the government will take actions against you. You may:

  • Lose wages and tax refunds, which will be applied toward your unpaid loans
  • Lose eligibility for future student aid
  • Be unable to get a home, car, or other loan
  • Lose job opportunities or be unable to get a professional license
  • Damage your credit rating when your loan is reported to the national credit bureaus

Northern Michigan University’s Cohort Default Rate (CDR):


   Cohort Year    Cohort Default Rate (CDR)