Your Student Loan Grace Period

Will you be graduating from a college or university soon? Congratulations! If you will be repaying student loans, you may have questions about the grace period on your loan(s).

One of the advantages of a federal student loan is the six-month grace period. Borrowers usually aren’t required to make a payment on their loans until six months after they graduate, withdraw or drop their number of classroom hours to below half-time status. The grace period gives borrowers time to find employment and adjust their budgets accordingly.

Due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted March 20, 2020. The payments on federal student loans that existed at that time were suspended, interest rates were reduced to 0% and collections on defaulted loans were stopped. After a lengthy pause, federal student loan interest resumed September 1, 2023, and loan payments began in October.

How did the payment pause affect the grace period on student loans? If you have a loan that was scheduled to enter repayment during the payment pause, the loan should have automatically entered payment suspension and received the temporary 0% interest rate. Then interest on your loan(s) began to accrue again in September 2023, with your payments restarting in October 2023.  Any federal student loans disbursed to you after September 1, 2023, should be subject to the normal grace period as described in the second paragraph.

Here’s something else you need to know: A borrower may have more than one grace period to monitor after they’ve gone below half-time status at their school for any reason. This happens when borrowers have loans from schools they attended before transferring to the most recent school, or if at any time they previously dropped to below half-time status at any college they attended. It’s important that borrowers talk to the financial aid office at their college to ask about the repayment start dates on each of their loans. To check the status of your federal student loans, visit and choose “View Your Loan Information.” You will need to log in with the same FSA ID (Federal Student Aid Identification) that you used to submit your FAFSA.

More information about successful loan repayment can be found at