What should I know about student loans if I want to be considered a responsible borrower?

You should only borrow what you need.

A loan, unlike a grant, is borrowed money that must be repaid.

You must keep your loan servicer informed of any changes in your name, address, telephone number, Social Security number, or school enrollment status.

You must repay your loan even if you didn’t get the education or job you expected, and they can’t be canceled because you didn’t complete your education.

You can prepay the whole loan or any part of it at any time without penalty.  This means you are paying some of the loan before it’s due.

If you apply for deferment, forbearance, or consolidation, you must continue to make payments on your loan until you have been notified that your request has been processed and approved.

Your student loan account balance and status will be reported to national credit bureaus on a regular basis.  Repaying your loan responsibly can help you establish a good credit rating and failing to repay your loan can damage your credit rating.

The consequences of defaulting (failing to pay according to your loan contract) on a federal student loan are severe and long lasting. For example, you might not be able to buy a car and your federal income tax refund could be applied to your student loan balance instead of being sent to you.

There are repayment options available to assist you if you’re having trouble making payments.