To begin your exit counseling session for Federal Stafford and GradPLUS Loans,* click HERE, sign in, select "Complete Counseling." The process will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Please note that you must complete the entire session once you begin. If you close your browser before receiving confirmation of successful completion of the session and then return later, you will need to start over from the beginning.
Once you have successfully completed the session, your To Do List in CAESAR will be updated to “Completed!” within 5 business days. Group exit sessions will be scheduled in May to provide an opportunity for questions. Individual counseling is also available upon request. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. All students must complete the online exit counseling before attending an optional group or individual session.
*Students with Federal Perkins Loans will receive an exit packet from the NU Student Loan Office as completion of the exit counseling requirement for this loan. The exit packets will be distributed at the group exit counseling sessions or (for students who do not attend a group session) through the mail.
Why Exit Counseling?
All students who have borrowed federal loans while attending Northwestern University are required by federal regulation to complete exit counseling upon:
- withdrawing from the university (even if you plan to transfer to another school)
- dropping below half-time student status (even if you plan to continue attending NU)
- Half-time student status for quarter programs is defined as enrollment in 2 credits per term. Other programs should check with their department to determine how they define half-time status.
If you do not meet any of the above criteria, please contact email@example.com.
Completing your exit counseling on the StudentLoans.gov website satisfies the federal requirement for your Federal Stafford and GradPLUS Loans. Exit counseling covers your rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower and provides:
- your outstanding loan balance
- an estimated monthly payment amount
- an explanation of the various repayment plans
- pros and cons of loan consolidation
- information regarding loan forgiveness, deferments, and forbearance
IMPORTANT: Federal Direct Loans vs. Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL)
The online exit session mentions the difference between Federal Direct and Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) loans. Direct Stafford & GradPLUS loans were borrowed directly from the U.S. Department of Education. FFEL Stafford & GradPLUS loans were borrowed through private lenders, such as Citibank and Wells Fargo. Many (if not most) FFEL loans have since been sold to the U.S. Department of Education.
However, FFEL loans that were sold to the U.S. Department of Education remain FFEL loans unless consolidated into the Direct Loan Program. This is important because only Direct loans are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
Contact your loan servicer to select/change repayment plans, apply for deferments, forbearance, cancelation/forgiveness or with any questions regarding your Federal Stafford or GradPLUS loans.
You can view the current loan holder(s) and loan servicer(s) for all your federal loans (those borrowed while attending NU and any prior institutions) in the National Student Loan Data System.