Student Loan Payment Restart
On May 11th, Education Secretary, Miguel Cardona, confirmed that the student loan forbearance would end June 30th. Payments will resume 60 days after that or 60 days after the Supreme Court decides the fate of the student loan debt relief, which could eliminate up to $20,000 of student loans for some borrowers.
For many people already concerned about the higher costs of groceries, gas, housing, and interest rates, this news has been met with anxiety about how to remain current on their loans. To prepare, we have put together steps for ensuring you know the status of loans and how to maintain a positive loan payment history as we go through this transition.
Step 1. If you are not sure who your loan service provider is, visit StudentAid.gov. Create an online account if you do not have one. This provides access to nearly everything you need to know regarding federal student loans including:
- Who your student loan servicer is (you can also call 800-433-3243),
- How much you currently owe,
- The type(s) of loans you have, and
- Repayment options based on your personal situation, using the Loan Simulator.
Step 2. Update or verify that the address and phone number on file for you is correct. It is important to stay informed about your student loans. Loan servicers and the Department of Education, use this information to send key notices about student aid.
Step 3. Visit your Loan Servicers website.
- Create an account on their website if you do not already have one.
- Update or verify that the address, email address, and phone number on file for you is correct.
- Determine the status of your loan repayment.
- Is a payment amount already configured?
- What is the due date?
- Is autopay set up to ensure you do not miss payments?
- Is the correct bank account connected to autopay?
- If not using autopay, what is the best method to send payments to the loan servicer?
Payments are based on the amount of debt remaining and how much time is left in your repayment period. If you were previously on an Income Driven Repayment Plan and feel the amount will be too high, you can apply for a new plan on the StudentAid.gov/idr website. This will require recertifying income, household size, and if applicable, the hardship reason. You may also be able to talk to your loan servicer about options for reducing payments.
If you had autopayments in place, through your servicer, prior to the Pandemic, those may need to be updated. Review your autopayment options and ensure that existing information is correct. Autopayment is the best way to ensure that payments are made on time each month.
Defaulted Student Loans
For borrowers who may have student loans in default (past due), the Federal government is offering a one-time program called Fresh Start to assist people in putting their loans back on track. The program offers benefits like:
- Removing the default record from a credit report,
- Showing student loans as in “repayment” on the credit report,
- Stopping collection calls,
- Reinstating access to federal student aid, so people can return to college, and
- Access to Income Driven Repayment Plans.
Not all loan types are eligible for Fresh Start, so it is important to contact the Department of Education through one of the following options:
- Online—Visit myeddebt.ed.gov and log in to your account. If you have never used the website, you can create an account.
- Phone—Call the Department of Education’s Debt Resolution group at 1-800-621-3115.
- Mail—Write to Default Resolution Group, P.O. Box 5609, Greenville, TX 75403. In your letter, include your name, social security number, date of birth, and the following: “I would like to use Fresh Start to bring my loans back into good standing."
People who are not eligible for Fresh Start may be eligible for a Rehabilitation plan. Utilizing a rehabilitation plan, a borrower can get out of default by making a certain number of consecutive, on-time payments to their loan holder under a rehabilitation agreement. (“Federal Student Aid”) To begin the loan rehabilitation process, people must contact their loan holder. If you’re not sure of your loan holder is, log in to the StudentAid.gov website and select “View Details” under “My Aid.”
If you or someone you know needs assistance with student loans, contact AFS. Our certified counselors may be able to help them understand and access programs for managing student loan payments or assist in freeing up income going towards other debts, to prepare for making student loan payments. Get started today! 888-282-5811 or www.myfinancialgoals.org
Federal Student Aid, https://studentaid.gov/help-center/answers/article/loan-rehabilitation.
Published May 15, 2023.