How much should I borrow?
EWC strongly encourages borrowers to carefully weigh the need for loans and to borrow only what is actually needed. Estimate and plan your repayment obligations prior to borrowing. Borrowing in excess of what is actually needed means repaying more at a later date. Monthly payments will be higher and payments will stretch over a longer period of time due to the interest that accrues on the loans.
For federal student and parent loans, borrowers should be aware of the repayment options that are available. In addition, there are a number of deferment or forbearance provisions available once the loan is in repayment. For some qualifying majors and professions, such as teaching, federal and state loan cancelation provisions can also be beneficial.
Click here for estimate, repayment, deferment and forbearance options.
Click here for Loan Forgiveness Program Information.
Remember, loans must be repaid even if you did not complete your program and/or degree.
How do I track and manage my loans?
To keep track of your student loans or to contact your loan servicer for repayment, log onto to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at www.nslds.ed.gov. The PIN number that you used as your electronic signature for the FAFSA can also be used to gain access to NSLDS.
This website will not only show you all of the federal and private loans you borrowed, but also who the servicer is for your loan(s). The servicer is the entity you will be corresponding with to coordinate repayment.
To see a list of Federal Student Aid servicers for the Direct Loan Program and for FFEL Program Loans purchased by the U.S. Department of Education, go to the Loan Servicer page.
How do I consolidate my loans?
A Direct Consolidation Loan allows you to combine multiple federal student loans into one loan once you graduate or leave school. The result is a single monthly payment instead of multiple ones, which can simplify the process, but it can also result in the loss of some benefits.
Because there are advantages and disadvantages to loan consolidation, research this option carefully before proceeding. If you have questions about whether or not consolidation is right for you, please contact the Direct Loan Consolidation Loan Information Center at www.loanconsolidation.ed.gov. Also check out http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/consolidation.
When should I begin repaying my loans?
You don’t have to begin repaying most federal student loans until after you leave college or drop below half-time enrollment. However, Parent PLUS loans enter repayment once the loan is fully disbursed (paid out). Most student loans have a “grace period”, a set period of time (usually six months) after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment before you must begin repayment on your loan. The grace period gives you time to get financially settled and to select your repayment plan. Not all federal student loans have a grace period. Note that for most loans, interest will accrue during your grace period.
Your loan servicer or lender must provide you with a loan repayment schedule that states when your first payment is due, the number and frequency of payments, and the amount of each payment.
There is no penalty for paying your loan off early or for making payments while you are still enrolled. If you have unsubsidized loans, you can (and should!) make payments on your interest that is accruing to keep your total loan debt lower.
What repayment plans are available to me?
When it comes time to start repaying your student loan(s), you can select a repayment plan that’s right for your financial situation. Payment plans vary in terms of length of repayment, total interest paid and payment amounts per month. Some plans are based on the income you earn. Generally, you’ll have from 10 to 25 years to repay your loan, depending on total amount borrowed and which repayment plan you choose. Contact your loan servicer if you would like to discuss repayment plan options or change your repayment plan. You can get information about all of the federal student loans you have received and find the loan servicer for your loans using the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). Get detailed info about payment plans available here.
What is loan default?
If you don’t make your loan payments, you risk going into default. Defaulting on your loan has serious consequences. Your school, the financial institution that made or owns your loan, your loan guarantor, and the federal government all can take action to recover the money you owe. Understand how missing a loan payment can be a problem, what default means and the consequences of default, and what you need to do if your loan is in default or if you think the default on your loan is an error. There are different options to prevent falling into default status.
What are some of the consequences of defaulting?
The consequences of defaulting on a federal student loan can be severe:
- The entire unpaid balance of the loan and any interest is immediately due and payable.
- Loss of eligibility for deferment, forbearance, and repayment plans.
- Loss of eligibility for additional federal student aid.
- The loan account is assigned to a collection agency.
- The loan will be reported as delinquent to credit bureaus, damaging your credit rating. This will affect your ability to buy a car or house or to get a credit card.
- Your student loan debt will increase because of the late fees, additional interest, court costs, collection fees, attorney’s fees, and any other costs associated with the collection process.
- Wages and/or tax refunds may be garnished.
- You may not be able to purchase or sell assets such as real estate.
- It will take years to reestablish your credit and recover from default.
What are some options to preventing my loan from defaulting?
Under certain circumstances, you can receive a deferment or forbearance that allows you to temporarily postpone or reduce your federal student loan payments. Postponing or reducing your payments may help you avoid default.
You’ll need to work with your loan servicer to apply for deferment or forbearance; and be sure to keep making payments on your loan until the deferment or forbearance is in place.
Deferment: a postponement of payment on a loan that is allowed under certain conditions and during which interest does not accrue for subsidized loans. This request can be made if you are returning to school and are enrolled in at least half-time status.
Forbearance: a period during which your monthly loan payments are temporarily suspended or reduced. You may qualify for forbearance if you are willing but not able to make loan payments due to certain types of financial hardships. A complete list of Direct Loan forbearances and eligibility criteria can be reviewed at www.dlservicer.ed.gov.
Changing repayment plans: Changing repayment plans is a good way to manage your loan debt when your financial circumstances change. For example, you can usually lower your monthly payment by changing to another repayment plan with a longer term to repay the loan. There are no penalties for changing repayment plans.
How do I get help with loan issues?
First, ALWAYS contact your loan servicer. Staying in touch with your loan servicer will maintain a good relationship and decrease the chances of loan default. Keep your contact information up to date with your servicer so you receive important correspondence. Get your servicers contact information at nslds.ed.gov.
If you are having a problem with your federal student loan that your servicer cannot address, contact the FSA Ombudsman at the U.S. Department of Education. The FSA Ombudsman is dedicated to helping students resolve disputes and other problems with federal student loans.
You can contact the FSA Ombudsman by phone at 1-877-557-2575, by fax at 1-202-275-0549, by mail at U.S. Department of Education, FSA Ombudsman, 830 First Street, NE, Fourth Floor, Washington, DC 20202-5144, by visiting fsahelp.ed.gov or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are my parents responsible for paying back my student loans?
No. Parents are only responsible for your educational loans if you are under 18 and they were required to co-sign for you to get the loan. Parents are only obligated to repay the Federal Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS).
Student Employment FAQs
What is Federal Work Study?
Federal Work Study is an employment program funded by the federal government and EWC. It provides students with part-time jobs to help meet the cost of education. Jobs pay minimum wage and generally average 5-10 hours per week. Advantages of this program include:
• A variety of jobs are available, with some involving community service, which can be included on your scholarship applications and resume,
• Federal Work Study income does not affect your financial aid eligibility for next year,
• You gain valuable work experience, and
• You can avoid student loan debt by working to pay for your education.
How do I apply for Federal Work Study or Institutional Employment?
The Financial Aid Office does not place you into specific positions. It is up to you to check on job availability and to complete paperwork. Even if you’ve previously had a Work-Study or Institutional Employment job, you will need to complete a new contract before beginning work.
New employees will need to provide identification for completion of the I-9 form. You are not allowed to work during your scheduled class times. You must submit your time worked through MyEWC Portal and have it approved by a supervisor to receive your paycheck.
You are paid once a month for the previous month’s hours. Paychecks may be direct deposited or picked up in the Financial Aid Office the 30th of each month. Check here for a listing of positions, employment guidelines and manuals.
Are work-study earnings taxable?
The money you earn from Federal Work Study is generally subject to federal and state income tax, but exempt from FICA taxes (provided you are enrolled full time and work less than half time). Work-study earnings for the calendar year should be included in the totals for adjusted gross income (AGI) and in the Additional Financial Aid Information section of the FAFSA. Work-study earnings should only be included on the FAFSA when they represent financial aid to the student, since the answer to this question is used as an exclusion from taxed income. The student should also be careful to report amounts based on the calendar year, not the school year.
What is Institutional Employment?
Just like Work Study jobs, Institutional Employment provides students with jobs on campus; the difference is that you do not have to have need as determined by the FAFSA to be eligible. Funding for Institutional Employment positions come from the school itself rather than the federal government. Application procedures are the same as for Work Study.