Status of a Student Loan If You Take a Year Off
Although a college education is an exciting endeavor, and in many cases, the momentum of staying in school propels a student toward the completion of his or her degree, there are many reasons why a student might want to take some time off from school. While it may not seem wise to some to break the flow of consecutive schooling, time away from school can be invaluable and life-changing for some students. Harvard recommends that all students consider taking a year off and reports that 80 to 110 of their students each year choose to do so.
Some of the reasons why a student might take time off from school include:
- To learn in the world. Learning takes place in the world outside of college just as much or even more than it does within the college classrooms. Some students take time off from school because they need to learn within the confines of the classroom of the world instead of the classrooms on campus. This kind of learning might come in the form of an internship, apprenticeship, a job, or other types of experience gained in a student’s chosen field.
- Soul-searching. For some students, the answer to the question of what degree or career to pursue may not be so obvious. Taking time off from school to learn about oneself is reasonable if this is the case. This kind of time off from school can help a student to evaluate what he or she truly wants to study and pursue, and it can help a student to avoid money wasted on unsuitable studies.
- Obligations. Taking time off from school isn’t all leisure (in fact, it usually isn’t). Family obligations as well as other types of obligations sometimes warrant that a student take time away from school for a period of a year. An illness in the family, a lack of funding for daycare for children at home, a need in the family business, a difficult pregnancy, and many other circumstances might lead to a student taking a year off from school.
- Other pursuits. It is worth it for some students to take a year of from school so they can devote some time to their own pursuits, professional or otherwise. For some students, this means traveling abroad. For others, it might mean starting a business.
How Is Loan Status Affected?
If you’re taking a year off of school, you might be curious about what will happen in terms of your student loan status. You might be wondering when you need to begin repayment, among other things.
How soon you will need to begin repaying your loans once you pause your education depends on the types of loans you have. Certain kinds of loans will allow you a longer grace period before repayment begins than others will. For instance, if you have a Perkins Loan, you can wait nine months before you begin repayment. However, if you have a Stafford Loan, you will have to begin repayment in just six months. For some students, the fact that these grace periods are shorter than one year influences their decision to take just a semester off instead of a full year. Each loan is different, and you should meet with your financial advisor to create a plan of action for your year off as well as repayment.