Student Loan Payments Restart This Month
On October 1, the pandemic pause on federal student loan payments officially ended. This means 44 million borrowers are required to restart payments this month. If you’re one of those who benefited from three and half years of loan relief, you might be looking for tips on how to manage student loan payments. Here’s what you need to know.
Update your contact info
Many of us moved since the beginning of the pandemic. Make sure your loan servicer can get in touch with you by updating your contact info by logging in at StudentAid.gov.
Know your monthly payment amount
Loan servicers started sending disclosures with monthly payment amounts in August. If you haven’t received a disclosure or monthly bill, log in to Federal Student Aid to find your loan servicer and payment amount.
Review your repayment options
The U.S. Department of Education’s Loan Simulator can help you choose a loan repayment option that meets your needs. This online tool can also identify ways to lower your payment, avoid loan default and decide whether to consolidate your student loans.
See if you qualify for loan forgiveness
If you’re a teacher, government or tribal employee, employee of a nonprofit, a nurse, doctor or other medical professional, or if you have a disability, you may qualify for loan forgiveness. Also, a Perkins loan may be cancelled or discharged if you’ve completed eligible employment or volunteer service. Get details on student loan forgiveness here.
Remember student loans affect your credit score
Student loans and payment history show up on your credit report. Timely payments will help you establish a positive payment history and build your credit score. Late or missed payments can hurt your credit score.
What to do if you can’t make payments
Income-driven repayment (IDR) plans are available for borrowers who need a lower payment. The new SAVE Plan calculates monthly payments based on income and family size.
Temporary relief is also available through deferment and forbearance that allows you to suspend payments for a short period.
If you’re paying student loans for the first time
For borrowers who are new to repayment, this page covers questions and answers about what you need to do.
Adjusting your budget
To manage finances well you must know how much money is coming in and how much is going out. In other words, you need to create a budget.
If your income minus expenses leaves enough to cover your student loan payment, you’re in good shape. If your funds fall short, consider these options:
- Reduce expenses
- Generate additional income
- Apply for a lower student loan payment through the IDR plans
- Apply for loan forgiveness, deferment or forbearance
Get budget help
As a Consumers member, you can get free one-on-one budgeting help through GreenPath Financial Management.
If your prefer online learning, check out GreenPath’s on-demand webinar, It’s Time to Prepare for Student Loans Payments to Resume.
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