Millions of Americans with student loans will have tofrom 1 October.
The pause in student loan payments began in March 2020 as part of a series of pandemic-related financial relief measures. Since then, the break was extended several times, but the congress earlier this year.
Some had wondered if a potential government shutdown could lead to further delays, but Education Department officials said that was not the case as service personnel would still be able to process payments. In any case, Congress voted Saturday to extend government funding,for now — though another funding standoff could loom in November.
“Even if extreme House Republicans needlessly shut down the government, loan payments will continue to fall due starting this month,” an Education Department spokesman told CBS News.
Here’s what you need to know about where things stand.
When must the student loan be paid?
Payments will be due beginning in October, federal officials said. You must have received an invoice or other notice at least 21 days before the invoice’s due date. If you haven’t received a billing notice, contact your student loan servicer, the education department said.
While payments are due in October, interest already started accruing on September 1.
How do I find out who my loan provider is?
Some loan providers changed during the pandemic, meaning that the entity that handled your loan before March 2020 – when the repayment freeze began – may not be the company you’re dealing with now. (Some of the changes are listed by the education department on this side; for example, Navient ended its service contract in 2021 and its accounts were picked up by Aidvantage.)
You can find out which service provider handles your loans by logging into your account at Federal Student Aid website and click on the link “My loan services”. Experts advise borrowers to make sure they can log into their accounts with the service provider.
I moved. Do I need to update my information?
You should update your information with your loan provider, experts told CBS MoneyWatch. Log in to your service account – or create a new account if you don’t have one – to check your contact information. Your information may need to be updated as it has been more than three years since the loan was due.
How can I find out how much I owe?
Log into your service account, which will tell you how much you owe and the date of payment, according to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
What student loan repayment plans are available?
Borrowers are automatically enrolled in the Standard Repayment Plan, which is a 10-year schedule to pay down their balances. But it’s also the most expensive plan, and some borrowers could get sticker shock when seeing their payments fall due in October.
But other repayment plans are available. New and existing borrowers should take the time to review the other repayment options, such as Education department website.), or SAVE, plan, a new income-based repayment option from the Biden administration. It could lower, or even eliminate, monthly loan payments for more than 20 million borrowers. (You can apply for SAVE here
You can use loan simulator on the Federal Student Aid website to find out which plan is best for you, such as income-driven repayment plans, which tie borrowers’ payments to their monthly income.
What is the SAVE plan?
The plan is open to borrowers with direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans as well as direct PLUS loans for graduate and vocational students and for direct consolidation loans.
Although the plan is open to applicants, its full benefits won’t take effect until 2024. For example, borrowers in the SAVE plan with undergraduate loans will have their monthly payments reduced from 10% to 5% of their discretionary income. But the 5% rate doesn’t start until mid-2024, according to to the teaching department.
Other elements of SAVE will offer immediate relief, including the elimination of negative amortization, which allowed interest on student loans to snowball and often left borrowers owing more than they originally borrowed.
—With reporting from the Associated Press.