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Research Guides

Financial Fitness: Student Debt

What is student debt?

Student debt is caused by loans accumulated during college. Due in part to the rising cost of tuition, nearly two thirds of college seniors graduated with loan debt, averaging $26,600 (Project on Student Debt, 2011). During your education, practice responsible borrowing to minimize loan payments after graduation.  

What can I expect after graduation?

Your experience repaying student debt will depend on the type of lending program in which your university participates (i.e. Direct Lending vs. FFEL) and the student aid package you received while in school. The University of Idaho is a direct lender, meaning funds are provided by the Department of Education. Nearing or closely after graduation, it is common for students to be given an exit interview. This interview, given by Financial Aid, summarizes the debt accrued during university and provides information about payment options. After graduation there is commonly a grace period (designated by the funding source) where payments are not mandatory. However, once the grace period ends, there are also options to:

  • change your repayment plan;
  • consolidate your loans;
  • apply for deferment or forbearance; or
  • request forgiveness, cancellation, or discharge of loans.