While in School

Now that you have accepted your loans and have started school, what do you need to know?

Your first step is to find out who your lender (also known as a loan servicer) is. If you have accepted your Federal Stafford Loans, the Department of Education typically works with five to nine lenders (you can find the current list here); you will be automatically assigned to one of them. 

You will need to determine which of these lenders handles your Federal Loans. Here’s how you can find your specific lender:

  1. Go to studentaid.gov
  2. Log in to your account (same username and password as the FAFSA)
  3. Once on your dashboard, you should see your lender name on the right hand side

Here you can keep track of the amount of Federal Loans that you have taken out.

Your lender will email you about 30 days after the loan disburses to your student account to introduce themselves to you.


During a deferment, you are not required to make payments. For subsidized loans, the federal government will pay the interest during this time. All other loans, including PLUS and unsubsidized loans, will continue to accrue interest. 

To learn more about deferment, click here

Upon graduating, or enrolling in less than half-time, any unpaid interest will be capitalized (added to your principal balance). Some of the most common reasons for a deferment are while you are currently attending school, are unemployed, or are facing an economic hardship. Most private lenders also have in-school deferments, however it is recommended that you check with that specific lender about a grace period and their policies on deferment.

Paying Interest While in School

Although you are not required to make payments on your student loans while you are in school, doing so could help keep the interest down. This means that over the lifetime of the loan, you may pay less than you would if you waited to make payments after school.

These do not need to be large payments -- even $15 to $25 could have a great impact. For an idea on how payments during school could affect your future monthly payments and interest that accrues, please check out our Loan Capitalization Calculator.