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Bottom Line Up Front

  • You may have accumulated a lot of student loan debt while in college, but there are ways to take control of it after graduation.
  • Refinancing to a lower rate to save money and simplify the repayment process can help you manage and pay off your debt.

Time to Read

3 minutes

May 4, 2022

Congratulations on earning your college degree!1 If you’re like many college graduates, you may have bagged some student loans in addition to your diploma.

If you have federal or private student loans to repay, don’t worry! Here are some smart tips to ease your personal finances and manage student loan debt better. If you need more guidance, connect with our student loan center, powered by LendKey, at 1-877-304-9302. We're here to help Monday through Friday, 8 am to 8 pm ET. 

  1. Understand grace periods. After getting your degree, you may have a 6- to 9-month grace period before you’re required to begin making full monthly payments. While that gap may seem like a break from responsibility, you’ll still accrue interest during it. Start making payments immediately to reduce the total interest you'll pay. 
  2. Organize your loan details. Make a list of your loans, including their interest rates, balance and terms. Ensure you know the loan servicer for each and update your contact information with them.
  3. Consider consolidating your loans. The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has a program that allows existing federal student loans to be combined into one new loan. This can simplify your repayments. Check with the DOE to ensure you won't lose any benefits by consolidating.
  4. Look into refinancing options.1 If you’re looking to lower your interest rate and potentially lower your monthly payment, then consider refinancing through a private lender like Navy Federal. This is a good choice if you have unsubsidized Direct Loans, Grad PLUS loans and/or private student loans.

    Don’t have strong credit? Applying with a co-signer could help increase your chance of approval. Be sure to review your current and potential future federal loan benefits (including additional loan relief and forgiveness measures) before refinancing as these benefits don't carry over.
  5. Set up your repayment plan to pay more than the minimum each month. Set your budget up to pay more than the minimum each month. This will help you pay your loan off faster and may help you build your credit. Any time you have extra money from a raise, bonus or side gig, use it to pay down your student loan principal.

Next Steps Next Steps

  1. Set up automatic transfers with each of your student loan servicers to ensure your monthly payments are always on time.
  2. Check the Federal Student Aid site to see if you qualify for an easier repayment plan for any of your Federal student loans.
  3. Explore refinancing options through private lenders like Navy Federal to potentially lower your interest rate and monthly payments while paying your loan off faster.


1Eligible federal student loan payments and interest have been suspended by the government through Aug. 31, 2022. If you have federal student loans, we recommend reviewing your current and potential future benefits before refinancing.

This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.