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Interested in graduating from college with no debt? Check out this visual how-to that shows the key characteristics of students who graduate without student loans.

http://visual.ly/how-graduate-college-no-debt

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The debt-ceiling compromise was signed into law this week, which means that more than $17 billion in federal Pell Grants will still be available to eligible students through at least 2013. So Tuesday’s deal is great news for the approximately 309,000 students who attend Virginia colleges using Pell Grant aid.

However, the legislation cut two aid programs that helped student borrowers. First, graduate students with federal loans will lose their interest subsidy, meaning they will begin accruing interest on their loans immediately, instead of after they graduate. Second, students will no longer receive on-time repayment incentives for federal loans, including the Stafford.

Does this mean that students should no longer count on federal student loans to help cover their college costs? Not at all. It just means that students and their families should carefully read the fine print and understand how and when federal loans need to be repaid.

If you have questions about how the August 2 legislation will affect your federal financial aid, contact your institution’s Financial Aid Office.

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You’ve done it! Congratulations! After years of hard work, you are finally graduating from college with a degree. Now what? In addition to finding a job and working out the details on the next phase of your life, don’t forget that an important part of your future is paying back any student loan debt you may have incurred over the course of your college career.

While you may be aware that most loans offer grace periods before repayment is to begin (six months for a Federal or Direct Stafford Loan, nine months for a Federal Perkins Loan), don’t wait until your grace period is up to figure out your next steps.  The Financial Aid office at your institution can provide information on how the payback process works. If you have a federal loan, the U.S. Department of Education and Federal Student Aid has a good, online resource to help get you rolling.

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