What is Federal Direct Loan Exit Counseling?
Exit counseling helps you to understand your rights and responsibilities as a borrower of the federal direct subsidized and/or unsubsidized loans. The online session will provide information on how to manage student loans, repayment plans/options, debt management, consequences of default and more. Here is our Exit Counseling guide to assist you in completing this online exercise.
Do I have to complete the exit counseling?
Yes, if you borrowed in the direct loan programs during your attendance at Wells College. Federal regulations require loan exit counseling if you:
- Drop below half-time status
- Withdraw (Even if you plan to transfer to another institution)
How long does it take to complete the counseling session?
It takes on average about 30 minutes to complete and it is all done online here. The online counseling must be completed in a single session. Once submitted, you cannot make any changes. If you wish to change the repayment plan you selected, you must contact your loan servicer. View our online prezi which offers a summary of the information provided in the Exit Counseling session.
What information will I need to complete the online counseling?
- Your FSA ID (used to sign your FAFSA).
- Estimated income and living expenses – don’t worry – you can use estimates and you will not be held accountable for the estimated amounts you enter.
- Names, addresses, phone numbers and emails for at least 2 references. References are people you are typically in contact with and cannot live at the same address. Your references will not be contacted to pay on your loan – they are required in the event you do not keep your contact information current with your loan servicer. If your loan servicer is not able to contact you, they will reach out to your references for your current contact information.
How do I find out how much I owe and who I need to send payments to?
Once you log onto studentaid.gov, you will be able to find out both of these details. The website will provide you with your loan servicer's (where you send/make payments) contact information along with the total amount you have borrowed in federal loans. Please be aware the website will not list private education loans or parent PLUS loans.
Will the exit counseling let me know how much I have to pay each month?
Yes, you will be given an opportunity to select your repayment plan. You may also use the loan simulator to assist you with seeing which repayment plan you may be eligible for along with estimated monthly payments and how much you will pay over all. Please note that there is no pre-payment penalty. If you wish to pay more than you are required to each month, you are welcomed to do so without penalty.
What should I do if I am going to go enroll at another school?
During the loan exit counseling, you will learn that you will be able to defer payment on your loans if you are enrolled at least half time. The Registrar’s Office of your new school should automatically notify the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) of your enrollment. If your enrollment is not automatically updated, you can work with your loan servicer to see what is needed to defer payment of your loans.
What if I move - how do I contact my loan servicer?
Be sure to keep you loan servicer up to date with your mailing address, email, phone number and name changes. If you are unsure where to find your loan servicer contact information, please visit http://studentaid.gov.
Are there any tax benefits that are available for student loan borrowers?
Individuals are able to tax a tax deduction for interest that is paid during the calendar year. The maximum deduction is $2,500 per year.
What if I miss a payment or am having financial troubles?
Contact your loan servicer immediately. They will work with you to see if you are eligible for deferment, forbearance or perhaps select a different repayment option. Whatever you do, DO NOT ignore your monthly repayment obligation. This can lead to more costs. There are late payment fees and if you do not pay your loan in a timely fashion, collection costs can be assessed up to 20%. For more information on delinquent loans, please visit studentaid.gov.
What is loan consolidation?
Loan consolidation allows you to bring all of your federal loans together as one loan and you will be required to sign a new Master Promissory Note. In addition, you will receive a new interest rate. This is calculated by taking an average of the rates on your federal loans. Be sure to research before consolidating your loans. Using an average interest rate, you may wind up paying more in interest over time. Additionally, you will want to see if you will lose any repayment benefits from your original promissory note. Not sure on whether or not to consolidate, you may wish to take a look at some pros and cons. Click here to apply for a loan consolidation.
I am having trouble with my loan servicer. Is there anyone else I can contact?
Yes, there is a free service available to you that might help – the Office of the Ombudsman.
They can help you:
- Resolve discrepancies with your loan balances and payments.
- Identify options for resolving your default status, income tax refunds being seized, consolidation and other concerns.
- Create a file folder for your federal loans.
- Save communications you receive from your loan servicer.
- Each time you contact/call your loan servicer, keep notes of the issue, date, who you spoke with and the resolution of the issue.
- Review your credit report regularly to ensure all your information is reported correctly. You may view your report from the 3 major credit bureaus for free here.
- Keep contact information up to date.
- Set up automatic payments and receive an interest rate reduction of up to .25%.
Also check out this handout, repaying your federal student loans, as it covers topics such as repayment plans, deferments/forbearances, default, Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and more.