Federal student loan payments have been placed on pause since March 2020. There are no interest charges, no payments, and no collections activities. This period of administrative forbearance will end on January 31, 2022. All payments will then resume on February 1.
Although the U.S. Department of Education extended the payment pause several times, it stated that the final end of the period will come on Jan. 31.
Payouts will resume on February 1, 2022
Millions of borrowers currently take advantage of the administrative forgiveness period established by the CARES Act in February 2020. An estimated 35,000,000 borrowers are eligible for relief. All federal student loans and private FFEL loans are eligible.
Borrowers who have not made payments must prepare to pay their balances again after the Jan. 31 forbearance period ends. According to the Department of Education, borrowers can expect information about how to resume payments in the last months of the year. They will also receive a billing statement at a minimum of 21 days prior to the due date.
You can check the Federal Student Aid website or your loan servicer’s website to make sure your contact information is up-to-date so you are informed when your payments are made.
Why was the student loan payment suspension extended?
There have been several extensions to the payment pause, the latest being in August 2021. In a press conference, the Department of Education stated that this extension of payment pause was necessary in order to assist federal servicers in transitioning millions of borrowers to regular payments and to help borrowers avoid default or delinquency.
Secretary Miguel Cardona stated that the payment pause was a lifeline that allowed millions to concentrate on their families, finances, and health during the national emergency. This final extension will allow students and borrowers to have the time to plan for the restart as our economy recovers from a deep depression. It will also ensure that repayment is smooth.
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What to do if student loans are not affordable after paying your monthly payments?
Federal student loan borrowers still have options for relief even after the coronavirus-related relief ends.
All federal student loan borrowers are automatically granted the current administrative forbearance. The federal government offers general forbearance, which is not limited to emergency relief. If you have financial hardships, changes in employment, or medical expenses, you may be eligible for up to 12 months’ forbearance. You can contact your loan servicer for more detail.
Income-driven repayment plans
Income-driven repayment plans allow you to set your monthly payment according to a percentage of your discretionary income. You’ll typically make eligible payments for between 20-25 years, then your balance will be paid. Your payments may drop to $0. If you have a low income, To find out which plan is best for you, contact your loan agent.
Options for loan forgiveness
Borrowers who work in certain occupations might be eligible for federal programs that will forgive student loan debts after a period of time. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF), for example, forgives student loans to people who have been working in eligible public services jobs after 10 years of income-driven payments. To be eligible for Teacher Loan Forgiveness, you must have five years’ experience as a teacher in a high-need area. In return, you can get up to $17.500 of federal debt forgiven.
Refinancing federal student loan loans won’t eliminate any of the options, but it might be an option if your federal loan was taken out at high-interest rates. Private student loan lenders offer extremely low-interest rates. Refinancing to a different term or rate could lower your monthly payments.