The majority of students take on debt in order to pay for their degree. The question you need to ask yourself is how much debt will I have to take on to pay for school, and how easily will I pay it off? You’ve reached the right page for answers.

5 little pigs

List of loan servicers

The following are loan servicers for federally held loans made through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program and the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program.

Loan Servicer Contact
CornerStone 1-800-663-1662
FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA) 1-800-699-2908
Granite State – GSMR 1-888-556-0022
Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc. 1-800-236-4300
HESC/Edfinancial 1-855-337-6884
MOHELA 1-888-866-4352
Navient 1-800-722-1300
Nelnet 1-888-486-4722
OSLA Servicing 1-866-264-9762


Whether you’re a student or parent, years away from college or just about to start, the following checklists will help you get ready.

  • Elementary School Checklist: Student and parent checklists that start the student on the road to enjoying learning and point the parent to resources for college savings accounts.
  • Middle School Checklist: Student and parent checklists that get the student thinking about high school and possible careers and encourage the parent to keep an eye on the student’s progress.
  • Grad School Checklist: Checklist to help individuals get prepared for graduate or professional school.
  • Adult Student Checklist: Checklist for adults applying to college, including those who left high school before graduating, graduated high school, completed some college courses, or may be in the workforce.

Annual notification from your school

College students, watch for your school’s financial aid offer explaining your specific individual cost for college.

2015 Wisconsin Act 284, enacted March 28, 2016, requires Wisconsin institutions of higher education to annually provide a letter to all students to inform them of the cost of their education. The letter is required to include specific information about each loan held by a student, including total amount of debt accrued under the loan, the interest rate, standard repayment terms, the estimated monthly payment due under the loan when the repayment period commences, and the amount of interest to be paid over the term of the loan. This information can be a valuable resource to help students plan their financial futures upon graduation. Click for more information on the Wisconsin Student Debt Letter Legislation

Here are three examples of the letters that are sent to the students:


Know your Loan

You can’t manage your student loan debt unless you understand what you owe and how to pay. Make sure you know the balance on each of your loans, when payments are due, and where to send them. (If your lender offers an electronic payment option, sign up for it if you can. Your payments will never be late, and you may also qualify for a reduced interest rate.)

If you don’t know the basic terms of your student loans, contact your loan servicer. And if you’re not sure who that is — some borrowers have multiple loan servicers — see National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

Don't Miss Your First Payment


Most student loans come with a grace period — that is, a period of time after you leave school when you aren’t required to make payments. Grace periods are usually six or nine months, but they vary depending on the type of loan. A surprising number of student loan borrowers default on their loans because they don’t know when their grace periods end. Mark payment due dates on your calendar — and know that you are required to make on-time payments even if you never receive a bill or notice from your lender.

Pick the Best Repayment Plan

When it’s time to start paying back your student loans, you’ll probably face a variety of repayment options, from a standard ten-year plan to extended plans that base your payments on how much you earn. Learn about the plans available for each of your loans and choose the options that allow you to get out of debt as fast as possible. Many experts say that your student loan payments shouldn’t exceed 8% to 10% of your gross monthly income. You may want to use that as a rough guide, keeping in mind that if you extend the life of your loans, you’ll significantly increase the amount you pay in the long run.

To compare repayment plans, you can use the Repay Student Debt calculator offered by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Whether you have federal student loans, private loans, or both, this calculator is a great place to start evaluating your repayment options.

The direct loan program offers five different repayment plans:

  • Standard Repayment – The borrower will pay a fix amount each month for the life of the loan.  The payment would be determined by your borrowed amount, interest rate, and term of the loan.
  • Graduated Repayment – The borrower would make payments lower than the standard repayment plan, but would gradually increase every two years.
  • Income Contingent(ICR) – In this plan, the borrower would make payments based on their income, family size, loan balance, and interest rate. Borrowers in the ICR can have a payment as low as $0.00/mo.
  • Income Based(IBR) – This plan bases the borrowers payment strictly on their income and family size.  The balance of the loan and interest rate are not used in calculating the monthly payment.  The borrower would be responsible to pay 15% of their discretionary income to their federal student loans. Borrowers in the IBR can have a payment as low as $0.00/mo.
  • Pay As You Earn(PAYE) – This plan usually has the lowest monthly payment, and is also based on your income but uses 10% of your discretionary income as a payment instead of the 15% used in IBR.  Qualifying for the PAYE repayment plan is more difficult than the others. Borrowers in the PAYE can have a payment as low as $0.00/mo.

A Guide to Paying Off Student Loans

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs


  • Income-Based Repayment Plans: After 20-25 years of qualifying payments in one of the U.S. Department of Education’s income-based repayment plans, your loan balance is forgiven.
  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness: Offers up to $17,500 in student loan forgiveness for teachers who teach full time for five years in certain low-income schools and meet other program qualifications.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): Forgives the balance on your Direct Loans after you make 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer.
  • Perkins Loan Forgiveness: Provides up-front loan forgiveness for certain types of public service or for full-time work in certain occupations.
  • Volunteer Work: AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) and Peace Corps service qualify for several types of student loan forgiveness.
  • Health Professions: Several federal agencies provide student loan forgiveness programs for health professionals who work in specific locations or specialize in certain fields.
  • Law School Loan Repayment: Several programs provide forgiveness for law school graduates who practice public interest law, such as public defenders.
  • Government Employees: Many agencies provide up to $60,000 ($10,000 per calendar year) in student loan repayment assistance in exchange for a minimum commitment of 3 years of service.
  • Military Service: Different branches of the U.S. Armed Forces offer a number of different forgiveness and student loan repayment programs.

Educational Tools


Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB): Financial inTuition Podcast

CFPB: Financial inTuition Podcast

Learn tips and strategies on how to make more informed financial decisions around managing money, saving and paying for higher education, and repaying student loan debt.

Managing Your Student Loans episodes:



Federal Loan Resources


General Resources



Consumer Credit Counselors

Local Agencies

The following National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®) Agencies have physical locations, and operate in or around your local area or provide services in Wisconsin. However, if you select an agency not in your state of residence be sure to check if the agency can still provide assistance to you.

CCCS of Beloit
Beloit, WI 53511
LSS Financial Counseling Service
East Superior, WI 54880
CCCS of Greater Milwaukee
East Troy, WI 53120
Catholic Charities Credit Counseling
Eau Claire, WI 54703
FamilyMeans Consumer Credit Counseling Service
Eau Claire, WI 54701
CCCS of Sheboygan (A Division of Family Service Association)
Fond Du Lac, WI 54935
CCCS of Greater Milwaukee
Glendale, WI 53217
CCCS of Northeastern Wisconsin (FISC – A Program of Goodwill Industries)
Green Bay, WI 54303
FamilyMeans Consumer Credit Counseling Service
Hudson, WI 54016
CCCS of Beloit
Janesville, WI 53545
Catholic Charities Credit Counseling
La Crosse, WI 54601
CCCS of La Crosse
La Crosse, WI 54601
GreenPath Financial Wellness
Madison, WI 53717
CCCS of Northeastern Wisconsin (FISC – A Program of Goodwill Industries)
Menasha, WI 54952
CCCS of Greater Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI 53208
Money Management International
Milwaukee, WI 53224
CCCS of Greater Milwaukee
Oak Creek, WI 53154
CCCS of Northeastern Wisconsin (FISC – A Program of Goodwill Industries)
Oshkosh, WI 54901
Catholic Charities Credit Counseling
Prairie Du Chien, WI 53821
GreenPath Financial Wellness
Racine, WI 54306
CCCS of Sheboygan (A Division of Family Service Association)
Sheboygan, WI 53081
CCCS of Northeastern Wisconsin (FISC – A Program of Goodwill Industries)
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
CCCS of Greater Milwaukee
Waukesha, WI 53186
CCCS of Northeastern Wisconsin (FISC – A Program of Goodwill Industries)
Waupaca, WI 54981
Catholic Charities Credit Counseling
Wausau, WI 54401
CCCS of Greater Milwaukee
Wauwatosa, WI 53222
GreenPath Financial Wellness
West Allis, WI 53214
CCCS of West Bend
West Bend, WI 53095
CCCS of Greater Milwaukee
Whitefish Bay, WI 53217


Regional Agencies

The following NFCC Member Agencies have physical locations, and/or provide services in several states.

Guidewell Financial Solutions
Baltimore, MD 21228
Credit Counseling of Arkansas, Inc.
Fayetteville, AR 72703
LSS Financial Counseling
Duluth, MN 55802
American Financial Solutions
Seattle, WA 98121


National Agencies

The following NFCC Member Agencies have physical locations, and/or provide services in all 50 states.

Advantage Credit Counseling Service, Inc.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Navicore Solutions, a Garden State Consumer Credit Counseling
Manalapan, NJ 07726
Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions
Atlanta, GA 30303
Springboard Nonprofit Consumer Credit Management, Inc.
Riverside, CA 92501
InCharge Debt Solutions
Orlando, FL 32819
Take Charge America
Phoenix, AZ 85027
American Consumer Credit Counseling
Auburndale, MA 02466
Columbus, OH 43213
Debtors Anonymous