If you've recently graduated and skated through half a year without too much thought about your student loan debt, it's time to pay the piper.
For federal loans, which make up the bulk of student debt, there is generally a six-month grace period after graduation that gives borrowers time to get on their feet before they have to start repaying their loans.
That means graduates are just now facing their first bill. Seven in 10 seniors leave school with debt, owing over $34,000, on average, according to a report by Experian.
"It's easy for new borrowers to put their head in the sand," said Andrew Josuweit, CEO and president of Student Loan Hero, a student-loan management site. "They've never had $30,000 to $40,000 in loan debt before."
And for 63 percent of families, those grads are solely responsible for paying back their college tab, according to education lender Sallie Mae.
If you're concerned about how to tackle those bills and what happens next, here's what you need to know: