Student loan repayments could resume in September. How to prepare now – Trend 24

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It’s right there on the US Department of Education website: Student loan repayments will resume after August 31, 2022.

Skeptical?

It’s understandable. The Department of Education has repeatedly set an end date for the federal student loan payment pause, which began in March 2020, then revised it at the last minute to give borrowers more time. The pause has now been extended six times and most borrowers have not repaid their debt for more than two years.

Moreover, the timing of this cycle is particularly sensitive, said higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz.

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Inflation is rising faster than it has in decades, and with November’s midterm elections looming, Democrats probably don’t want to be the ones to give millions another bill. Americans when their budgets are already tight. The typical student loan payment is around $400 per month.

“I don’t think reimbursement will restart on September 1 – two months before an election,” Kantrowitz said. “Most likely, the student loan moratorium will be extended until next year.”

That being said, no official announcement on an expansion has been made. More recently, Department of Education Undersecretary James Kvaal to say in an interview that payments were yet to restart after August.

Either way, Kantrowitz said, payments will eventually resume.

“Borrowers should start preparing now,” he said.

Here are three steps borrowers might consider taking now.

1. Save

2. Consider which payment plan makes the most sense

using the calculator

Withaya Prasongsin | moment | Getty Images

The lives of many people have been turned upside down by the pandemic.

If your situation looks different than it did more than two years ago, it may be a good idea to look at the different student loan repayment plans to find the one that best suits your current situation.

The government income-based reimbursement programs, for example, capping your monthly bill at a share of your discretionary income. Some payments end up being as low as $0, and any remaining debt after 20 or 25 years is supposed to be forgiven. The standard repayment plan, on the other hand, may come with a larger monthly payment, but if you can afford it, it allows you to pay off your debt in just 10 years.

Use one of the calculators at Studentaid.gov or Freestudentloanaadvice.org to compare repayment plans, said Betsy Mayotte, president of the Institute of Student Loan Counselors, a nonprofit organization.

To avoid the last-minute rush, contact the loan officer now if you need a deferral, forbearance, or income-based repayment plan.

Marc Kantrowitz

higher education specialist

If you’re unemployed or facing other financial hardship, you’ll have options when payments resume. You can submit a request for economic difficulties or report of unemployment. These are the ideal ways to defer your federal student loan payments, as interest does not accrue under them.

If you don’t qualify for either, you can use a abstention to continue suspending your bills. Just keep in mind that the interest will go up and your balance will be bigger, maybe a lot bigger, when you start paying again.

“To avoid the last-minute rush, contact the loan manager now if you need a deferral, forbearance or income-driven repayment plan – unless you like to be in endless waiting with your loan manager,” Kantrowitz said.

3. Get to know your loan manager

For a smooth transition, make sure your repair person has your current contact information, so you receive all notices about the upcoming change, Kantrowitz said.

Affected borrowers are expected to receive several notices about their new servicer, said Scott Buchananexecutive director of the Student Loan Servicing Alliance, a trade group for federal student loan servicers.

If you mistakenly send a payment to your old repairer, the money should be transferred to your new one, Buchanan said.

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