When to restart student loan repayments?
As of March 2020, federal student loan payments have been suspended – no payments required, no interest charged, and all collection activities suspended. However, this administrative forbearance period is expected to expire on January 31, 2022, meaning that all payments will resume on February 1.
The US Department of Education has repeatedly extended the payment break, but said Jan.31 will be the definitive end of that period.
Payments resume on February 1, 2022
Millions of borrowers are currently taking advantage of the administrative abstention period initiated by the CARES law in March 2020, with a 35 million borrowers eligible for relief. Eligible loans include all student loans held by the federal government, as well as private FFEL loans that are in default.
With the forbearance period set to expire on Jan.31, borrowers who have not made payments should prepare to resume payment of their balance. The Education Department said borrowers can expect information and resources on resuming payments in the final months of the year and will receive a billing statement at least 21 days before the due date. first payment.
In the meantime, you can visit the Federal Student Aid website and your lender’s website to make sure your contact information is up to date so that you are notified when payments are resuming.
Why has the student loan payment break been extended?
The payment break has been extended several times, with the latest extension announced in August 2021. The Education Ministry said in a press conference that this extended payment break was necessary to help federal departments get millions of borrowers back to their regular payments, as well as to help borrowers avoid default or default.
“The payment hiatus has been a lifeline that has allowed millions of Americans to focus on their families, health and finances instead of student loans during the national emergency,” the secretary said. ‘Education Miguel Cardona. “As our country’s economy continues to recover from a deep hole, this latest extension will give students and borrowers the time they need to plan for the restart and ensure a smooth return to repayment.”
What to do if you can’t pay off student loans after resuming payments
Even after the coronavirus relief expires, federal student loan borrowers have additional relief options if they are struggling to make their monthly payments.
The current administrative forbearance period is automatically granted to all federal student loan borrowers. However, the federal government also offers general forbearance outside of this emergency aid. You can be forborne for up to 12 months at a time (up to three years in total) if you are unable to pay your loans due to financial hardship, medical bills, or job changes. For more details, you can contact your loan manager.
Income-based repayment plans
Income-based repayment plans set your monthly payment based on a percentage of your discretionary income. Typically, you will make 20-25 years of qualifying payments, and then the remainder of your balance will be paid. If your income is low enough, your payments could drop to $ 0. If you would like to apply, contact your loan officer to see which plan best suits your needs.
Loan forgiveness options
Borrowers working in certain professions may be eligible for federal programs that cancel student loan balances after a certain number of years. For example, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program waives loans to people in eligible public service jobs after 10 years of payments under an income-based repayment plan. Teacher loan forgiveness, on the other hand, requires five years of employment as a teacher in a high need field in exchange for a federal debt repayment of up to $ 17,500.
While federal student loan refinancing eliminates the options listed above, it could be a viable option if you took out your federal loan when interest rates were high. Private student lenders currently offer extremely low interest rates, so refinancing at a different rate or term could help lower your monthly payment.