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When do I need to start paying my federal student loans?

For most federal student loans, you start making payments six months after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment in school. 

Most federal loans have a "grace period."  This is a time after you graduate, leave school, or when you drop below half-time school enrollment when you don't have to make payments . For most loans, interest will continue to grow during your grace period.

  • Direct Loans, Grad PLUS, and Stafford Loans have a six-month grace period.
  • Parent PLUS loans have no grace period. Parents must start repaying the loan as soon as you or the school receives the loan funds. However, parents may be able to request to delay making payments while their child is in school or for an additional six months after their child graduates, leaves school, or drop below half-time enrollment. Parents should contact their loan servicer for more information about how to delay making payments.
  • Federal Perkins loans have a nine-month grace period. 

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