Student Life Centre

When You Leave


Direct Loan Exit Counseling Completion

You must complete exit counseling if you are graduating, submitting your thesis, dropping below half-time status or withdrawing from your program. The counseling will provide you with important information on loan repayment and your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.

Direct Loan exit counseling is completed electronically via Click on the Complete Exit Counseling link and follow the instructions. You will need your FSA ID (username and password) to complete the Exit Counseling. This is the same FSA ID used to complete the FAFSA.

You must notify the Financial Aid Office by email ( that you have completed the counseling. A report can then be obtained by the Financial Aid Office that shows that you have met the U.S. Department of Education’s requirement.

If you withdraw

Your Direct Loan(s) is awarded under the assumption that you will attend University for the entire period for which the funding was granted. If you withdraw during a payment period, the amount of Title IV funding that you have earned up to that point is calculated in accordance with the U.S. Department of Education’s regulations. If you received (or the University or your parent received on your behalf) less financial assistance than you earned, you may be able to receive the additional funds. If you received more financial assistance than you had earned, the excess funds must be returned by the University and / or you.

Download the University of Sussex Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) Policy (For Academic Year 2018/19) [PDF 266.68KB]

As a result of excess funds being returned you may have an outstanding balance to repay to the University as soon as possible. You can view any balance, and pay with a debit or credit card, online via your Sussex Direct account. If you need to discuss your account, or arrange payment of your balance, please contact the University's Accounts Receivable team on +44 (0)1273 678206 or +44 (0)1273 877958.

Temporary withdrawal / intermission

Please note that if you take temporary withdrawal / intermission from your course you will be classed as withdrawn for funding purposes. The amount of Title IV funding that you have earned will be calculated in accordance with the U.S. Department of Education’s regulations and any excess funds received by you (or the University) must be returned.

Download the University of Sussex Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) Policy (For Academic Year 2018/19) [PDF 280.85KB]

Repayment of your loans


Federal Student Aid Guide: "Repaying Your Loans"

Student loans are borrowed money that must be repaid just like car loans and home mortgages. Student loans cannot be cancelled because you didn’t like the education received, didn’t get a job in your field of study or are having financial difficulty. Loans are legal obligations and are not easily written off in bankruptcy.

Do not ignore your student loan repayments or you will risk going into default. Defaulting on your loan has serious consequences. Find out about the consequences here.

There are a number of repayment options available. You should discuss them with your loan servicer to determine which will be the best for you. Details of the servicer of your loan are available on the NSLDS website.

  • Standard Repayment Plan
  • Graduated Repayment Plan
  • Extended Repayment Plan
  • Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYE)
  • Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE)
  • Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR)
  • Income Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR)
  • Income Sensitive Repayment Plan

Full details on loan repayment plans are available here.

If you do not select a repayment plan you will be placed under the Standard Repayment Plan (with fixed payments for up to 10 years). If your federal student loan payments are high compared to your income, you may want to consider repaying your loans under an income-driven repayment plan. These plans are designed to make your student loan debt more manageable by reducing your monthly payment amount.

You are responsible for staying in touch with your servicer and making your payments, even if you do not receive a bill.

You can find further details about repayment including repayment plans and amounts on the Federal Student Aid website. You can use the Repayment Estimator to estimate your monthly loan payments and evaluate repayment plan options.

After you graduate, submit your thesis, drop below half-time status or withdraw from your program you will enter your grace period. After your grace period you must begin repaying your loan. The grace period gives you time to get financially settled and to select your repayment plan.

  • Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans have a six-month grace period before payments are due.
  • PLUS Loans have no grace period. They enter repayment once they are fully disbursed but may be eligible for a deferment. You should contact your loan servicer for more information.

Under certain circumstances you can receive periods of deferment or forbearance allowing you to postpone loan repayment. You must apply through your loan servicer. You can find details regarding deferment and forbearance options on the Federal Student Aid website.

You may be able to combine one or more of your federal student loans with various repayment schedules into one Direct Consolidation Loan with one single monthly payment. You should discuss the implications of consolidating with your loan servicer first.


Watch this video to learn about the possibility of basing your monthly payments on your income:


What you can do if you have trouble making your federal student loan payments


Resolving Disputes

You should contact your loan servicer if you disagree with the balance or status of your loan. If your problem is not solved or if you are still not satisfied, you may consider contacting the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group to help you resolve your dispute. Contacting the Ombudsman Group is a last resort.

The Ombudsman Group can be contacted via:

  • Completion of the secure assistance request form through the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Feedback System
  • Telephone: 1-877-557-2575
  • Fax: 606-396-4821
  • Postal Mail: U.S. Department of Education, FSA Ombudsman Group, P.O. Box 1843, Monticello, KY 42633