repaying your federal student loans

It's time to start repaying your federal student loans. But before you get started, it's important to understand your repayment options and to make sure that you're enrolled in the repayment plan that's best for you. Let's start by highlighting your repayment options to make sure you're on the right path.

Check out our repayment infographic!

Federal student loan repayment plans

You can change repayment plans at any time. Log in to your account at to determine eligibility or call us at 1-800-722-1300 to speak to a representative for assistance.


Standard repayment plans last for up to 10 years and come with the following features:

  • Fixed monthly payment amounts with a minimum amount of $50 per month
  • Monthly payment amounts are based on your total loan amount —the more you owe, the higher your monthly payment will be
  • You'll pay less interest for your loan over time under this plan than you would under other plans


Extended plans are available for most students with more than $30,000 in Direct Loan debt. Under this plan, you:

  • Have 25 years to repay your loans
  • Choose from either fixed or graduated payments

    • Fixed payment plan offers the same monthly payment amount for the life of the loan
    • Graduated payments slowly increase with time


Graduated repayment plans account for an increase in income during your post-college career.

  • Payments start small and increase every two years
  • Options exist for 10 and 25-year repayment plans

Income-driven repayment options

Income-driven repayment options are determined by your income, along with other plan-specific factors. If your income is low, or if you're experiencing financial hardship, one of the following plans might be right for you.

Income-Based Repayment

This plan offers a monthly payment that is based on your income. It is designed to be helpful for those with low incomes or who are experiencing temporary financial hardships and comes with the following features:

  • Monthly payments may be adjusted annually
  • Repayment plan may last for more than 10 years
  • You may be eligible for cancellation of outstanding balances on your loans after a certain period of time

Income-Based Repayment calculator

Pay As You Earn

This plan typically offers the lowest monthly payment. It's a potential option if you're experiencing financial hardship, or if your "pay as you earn" monthly payment would be lower than the monthly payment in the standard repayment plan. The following loan types are considered in determining whether you have a financial hardship:

  • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • Federal PLUS Loans made to graduate or professional students
  • Federal Consolidation Loans that did not repay any PLUS loans for parents

Watch an informative video to find out more about Pay As You Earn repayment plan

Pay As You Earn calculator

Income-Contingent Repayment

With this plan, your monthly payments are based on your adjusted gross income (as well as your spouse's, if you're married), family size, and the total amount of your Direct Loans. Payment amounts are set based on the lesser of the following:

  • The amount you would pay if you repaid your loan in 12 years multiplied by an income percentage factor that varies with your annual income, or
  • 20% of your monthly discretionary income

To learn more about repaying your loans, visit


The longer your loans are in repayment, the more interest you will pay

How to make your payment

Auto debit

Signing up for auto debit can result in a 0.25% interest rate reduction on your federal student loans*, and also offers the convenience of having your payments post automatically — so you don’t have to remember to make your payment each month.


You can pay online by logging in to your account at These payments can be recurring or one-time only, as determined by you. You may schedule payments for up to 60-days in advance, save your bank account information for future use, and sign up to receive a courtesy payment reminder via email.

Over the phone

To pay by phone, simply call in by your monthly due date with your checking account and routing information, and a representative will assist you. We’re here to help you Monday — Thursday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET at 1-800-722-1300.

By Mail

Billing statements will be sent to you monthly. Enclose your payment coupon or write your account number on your check or money order and mail payments to:

Sallie Mae-Department of Education Loan Services
P.O. Box 740351
Atlanta, GA 30374-0351

* The auto debit benefit is available for as long as the borrower's monthly payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account. This benefit is suspended during periods of forbearance and certain deferments.