A Breakdown of Student Loan Borrower Protections

Stay safe and learn about your student loan borrower protectionsTaking out student loans is a huge commitment that can potentially greatly impact your life after college. When taking out student loans, borrowers need to be aware of the loan borrower protections they have. It’s very important to do plenty of research into student loan borrower protections before signing the dotted line. Read the fine print carefully before you agree to any loan, federal or private, that you take out. 

Repayment Options

Federal loans offer the most variety for repayment options, and they are often designed so that you can still have enough of your income left over for rent, food, savings, and other payments. Federal repayment plans are usually the most forgiving and federal loans have lower interest rates compared to private loans. An income-based repayment option is great if you don’t start out with a high-paying job right out of college. Keep in mind that you want to do your best to stay ahead of the interest rate, but don’t stretch your budget thin either. If you’re struggling to make payments, do some research on your other repayment options to see which one currently helps you the most. That usually means lengthening your loan’s life to make smaller monthly payments, at the price of accruing interest for a longer period of time. 


Forbearance is an option for both federal and private loans, although the federal loans give you much more leeway. With forbearance, you stop making payments on your loans completely, although interest will continue to accrue. Federal loans will allow you forbearance for a year (up to five years total), while private loans will allow you three months (up to one year total). Private loans might have an additional fee as well.

Economic Hardship Deferment

This is a little like forbearance, only for federal loans specifically. You can suspend payments in one-year increments, up to three. If you have a subsidized Stafford loan, the government will pay your interest. If you have an unsubsidized loan, your interest will continue to accrue.

Forgiveness Programs

With federal loans, forgiveness programs are an option. Most of them have to do with what field you go into after school (public service and teaching are two examples). Forgiveness programs hinge on you making payments on time for a certain amount of time—often 10-30 years depending on your repayment plan.

File Complaints

It might not help you right away, and it might not even help your case, but if your lender messes up, file a complaint. It’s one of the few actions you can take if something goes wrong that is not your fault. Whether you were misinformed, your money was mishandled, and so on, make a record of it. Don’t be afraid to file any complaints. It’s your money going towards paying off your debt, and you want the money to go to the right place. 

Use College Raptor’s new Student Loan Finder to discover personalized loan options. Compare lenders and interest rates to find the ideal student loan—for FREE!



Lender Rates (APR) Eligibility
Earnest company logo.
Variable APR: 1.99%* +
Fixed APR: 2.98%* +
Undergraduate and Graduate
Lendkey company logo.
Variable APR: 1.90%* +
Fixed APR: 2.95%* +
Undergraduate, Graduate, Parent PLUS
Credible company logo.
Variable APR: 1.89%* +
Fixed APR: 2.55%* +
Undergraduate and Graduate
Laurel road company logo.
Variable APR: 1.89%* +
Fixed APR: 2.50%* +
Undergraduate and Graduate
Commonbond company logo.
Variable APR: 2.50%* +
Fixed APR: 2.59%* +
Undergraduate, Graduate, Parent PLUS
Fixed APR: 2.74%* +
Undergraduate, Graduate, Parent PLUS
VISIT ISL Education Lending

*APR includes a 0.25% interest rate reduction for enrollment in automatic payments.

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