Fall graduation is almost here which means soon it will be time for students to attend exit counseling sessions. When you borrow money from certain student loan programs, like the Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized loan, the federal government requires schools to conduct entrance and exit counseling sessions. Exit counseling is similar to the entrance session you went through when you first complete your master promissory note. It covers your rights and responsibilities as a borrower and what repayment options are available.
If you have private student loans, the federal government does not require schools to conduct exit interviews. In some cases, the financial institution or school may require that everyone complete an exit counseling session; however, many do not. Even if you are not required to complete an exit interview for your private loan, I would suggest taking the time. Why, you ask:
- It is a great refresher of your rights and responsibilities as a private loan borrower.
- Private loan repayments options are not the same as those for federal loans, so this is a chance to understand the difference.
- Forbearance and Deferment options may differ from those you have with your federal loans and attending a session can help you understand this better.
- Gives you an opportunity to contact the institutions you borrowed from to make sure your private loan information is accurate.
Since many organizations do not require students to complete a private loan exit counseling session, I have attached a link to an on-line one here. You can also talk to someone in your financial aid office about other options that maybe available. Consider the exit counseling session as a small investment of your time that will help prepare you for the repayment phase of your private loan. That sounds like a good investment of time to me.