Loan Debt

Manage your student debt

Your personalized student loan debt estimate is among the most important information we’ll send you each year. Knowing what you’ll owe is a key to managing your borrowing. Review the information on this page to assist you with your borrowing decisions.

You have the power to reduce your future debt by planning your expenses carefully and by borrowing only what you really need—not what’s offered to you.

Planning year by year

Check out the following smart decisions you can make now that can put you on a path to better financial health after you graduate.

Every year, you should

  • File your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at
  • Develop and manage your student budget. Know how much is coming in and how much is going out. When budgeting you should consider ways to:
    • Find affordable housing and food options.
    • Find ways to reduce your spending budget by identifying wants and needs.
    • Save money on textbooks by looking for e-textbooks, renting, and buying used textbooks.
    • Use what you already pay for—including meal plans and IU and city buses.
    • Find free or low-cost activities at IU.
  • Borrow only what you need. Borrowing to achieve your degree is an investment in your future. (But do you want to be making payments for 10 or more years for larger loans that support lifestyle choices like dining out, luxury apartments, or weekend getaways?)
  • Work a part-time job for additional cash.
  • Search and apply for scholarships.
  • Actively manage your loans, and try to pay interest on unsubsidized loans each month while you’re still in school. This will save you money in the long run.
  • Calculate what your future loan payment might be on total anticipated loan debt up to graduation by using the Loan Simulator.

As a freshman you should

  • Make wise housing choices to keep your expenses low and reduce future borrowing.

As a sophomore you should

  • Plan your major and future career to help you determine how much to borrow. Your cumulative borrowing should not exceed your anticipated first-year salary.
  • Talk with your advisor about completing your degree in less than four years, if possible. The less time you spend in school, the less you’ll need to borrow.

As a junior you should

As a senior you should

  • Open an online account with your loan servicer.
  • Make your repayment plans now. Learn more about types of repayment plans.
  • Plan a budget for after you graduate—including what you’ll pay on your student loans.
  • Know how to avoid delinquency and default if you have trouble repaying your loans.
  • See if you qualify for loan forgiveness.

Find even more strategies for managing your finances at MoneySmarts and on the Your Financial Success page.

Still have questions?

You are invited to email with loan questions or make a virtual appointment with the Office of Student Financial Assistance to review your loan debt figures, talk about future borrowing, and discuss repayment options with a counselor.