As you plan for life after enrollment, you will be faced with many decisions, some of which you may have been planning for and decided long ago, like where you’ll live or what type of career path you’ll pursue. As you’ve undoubtedly learned in your years as a student, nearly every decision involving finances requires advanced thought and planning and that creating a budget and living within your means is essential to meeting your expenses and achieving your financial goals.
As a graduate or professional student, you likely have been responsible for paying your bills and making decisions about living expenses. Perhaps you talk with family and friends or are comfortable researching options on your own when making financial decisions about car insurance or lowering your cell phone costs or obtaining discounts on other services. When it comes to student loan repayment, one of the most important things to know is where to get reliable information. While the types of loans borrowed may be the same as a classmate or friend, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to the right federal student loan repayment plan for everyone. Income, debt level, career path and your own goals will play a role in the options available as you determine the right plan for you. As time goes by, other factors, such as family size and marital status will influence what plan may be best. It is critical to your long-term financial health to obtain information from reliable, legitimate sources.
Avoid scams: There are many scams built around student loans, forgiveness and refinancing. Often, these organizations represent themselves as official government agencies. Do not engage with callers or respond to emails or mail solicitations for such assistance.
Student loan entrance counseling was required when you took out your first federal student loan, not only to educate you about loan terms and rights and responsibilities, but to provide an opportunity and encouragement to look ahead at projected debt levels and repayment plans. The more time you spend planning for repayment, the better equipped you will be to make decisions. Exit loan counseling is required as you enter loan repayment to provide an opportunity to review your loan history and review your repayment options and rights and responsibilities.
We understand that entering repayment can be overwhelming. The Cummings School is committed to providing each student with the information needed to navigate repayment, including one-on-one counseling. The following is a brief overview of the exit counseling requirements and support provided by our office. Students are also guided through the process of downloading their federal student loan history from https://studentaid.gov/ to use in the VIN repayment simulator in order to review various repayment plans and costs and to help students become familiar with using the tool, which is encouraged not only when entering repayment, but regularly during veterinary school.
Student Loan Exit Counseling
To help students prepare for repayment, the Cummings Financial Aid Office prepares a loan summary that includes the key elements needed to successfully plan for repayment. The summary will identity the student’s loan servicers and action points. Students are invited to meet one-on-one to review their loan information and repayment options. Students may request a review of their loans any time, not just when preparing to graduate.
Cummings Student Loan Summary – Exit Counseling
Section I: Year by Year Loan Summary
Section II: Loan history, grace period and interest rate data & loan servicer contact information
Section III: Monthly payments estimates and examples of the impact of interest capitalization
In addition to one-on-one counseling, students must complete federal and institutional loan counseling online.
Online Exit Counseling
Complete exit counseling via the website: https://studentaid.gov/. Online counseling will provide you with an updated summary of your federal student loans as well as details of your expected loan payments under each of the repayment plans that are available to you. Completing this step prior to meeting one-on-one with the aid office typically helps students narrow down the repayment plan the student is most interested in and related questions.
Complete institutional exit counseling for Cummings Institutional Loans and Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL) via https://www.uasconnect.com/.
Prepare for Repayment: Take note of your grace period end date(s), create a budget and select a repayment plan (plan selection typically occurs within 45 days of repayment for federal loans).
Loan Servicer Access: Sign up for account access with each of your loan servicers and update your contact information.
Auto-debit: To receive an interest rate reduction, if offered, enroll in auto-debit payments.
If you are not prepared to make payments on any loans that will enter immediate repayment, you must contact your servicer to discuss deferment or forbearance options (i.e. alignment forbearance).
Resources & Information
- https://studentaid.gov/h/manage-loans offers detailed information about repaying and managing your loans.
- https://studentaid.gov/ the hub site for all federal functions/applications and information.
- Income-Driven Repayment Plans: https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/repayment/plans/income-driven/questions Q&A about eligibility requirements, the repayment period and loan forgiveness, important info for married borrowers and how to apply.
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) (https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service) – The PSLF Program allows eligible borrowers to cancel the remaining balance of their Direct Loans after they have served full time at a public service organization for at least 10 years, while making 120 qualifying loan payments.
- Loan Repayment Assistance Program: LRAP is a university-wide program that helps Tufts graduates working in public service pay a portion of their annual education loan bills Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) | Tufts Student Services
- Veterinary Information Network: https://www.vin.com/studentdebtcenter/default.aspx
- Saving Money During Vet School: https://vinfoundation.org/saving-money-in-veterinary-school-living-expenses/
- Personal Financial Success for Veterinarians: Free course for currently enrolled veterinary students offered through a collaboration between the VIN Foundation, VIN, and drip.vet. https://drip.vet/vin-personal-financial-success-for-veterinarians/
- VIN Student Loan Repayment Simulator: https://www.vin.com/studentdebtcenter/default.aspx?pid=14352&id=7578014
- Personalized Student Debt Help: https://vinfoundation.org/personalized-veterinary-student-loan-debt-help/
- Repay Wiser Webinar: Choosing the best student loan repayment strategy for your situation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FtBlHze6Ss
- VIN Class of 2022 New Grad Repayment Playbook Video of webinar.
- The VIN “Thrive in Five” Toolkit provides new graduates with the tools needed when going from student to practitioner.
The Financial Aid Office is available to answer any questions you may have at any time during repayment.