Student loan payments are back 

Here’s what you need to know – and how you can avoid scams.

Article published: September 18, 2023

In this article:

 

  • The pause on student loan payments is ending and there will be no more extensions
  • Interest starts accruing again on Sept. 1, 2023, and payments resume in October 2023
  • There will be a 12-month ramp-up period
  • For low-income earners, other assistance programs may still be available
  • Beware of scammers claiming they can help with loan assistance


With the Supreme Court rejecting the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness plan, student loan payments are poised to restart in October 2023. Here’s what you need to know about when and how the forgiveness period is ending and, in light of a warning from the Federal Trade Commission, we share tips for avoiding scams from fraudsters pitching student loan assistance.

Background

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, the Department of Education paused payments and set interest rates to 0% on eligible student loans. In August 2022, the Biden administration announced a plan to provide up to $20,000 in debt relief to certain Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 in debt relief to non-Pell Grant recipients for individual borrowers earning less than $125,000. But courts put a hold on the debt forgiveness program last November.

In early June, the debt ceiling bill passed by Congress prohibited the DOE from further extending the payment pause. And on June 30, 2023, the Supreme Court issued a decision officially blocking the Biden one-time student debt relief plan. The bottom line: It’s bad news for those counting on continued student loan relief.

The final extension of the student loan payment pause has officially come to an end. Interest on student loans starts accruing again on Sept. 1, 2023, and payments will be due starting in October 2023. The DOE will notify borrowers before payments restart.

Grace periods and resources

The DOE has instituted a 12-month “on-ramp” to repayment that runs from Oct. 1, 2023, to Sept. 30, 2024. During that period, payments are still due, but borrowers who miss monthly repayments will not be considered delinquent, reported to credit bureaus, placed in default or referred to debt collection agencies. But interest will continue to accrue. In addition, a number of options are available for those facing challenges:

  • Income-driven repayment: For those whose federal student loan payments are high compared to their income, income-driven repayment plans can help make monthly payments more affordable. The newly announced SAVE Plan, which applies to current and future federal student loan borrowers, will determine payments based on income and family size.
  • DOE forgiveness options: Defaulted loans: For those who defaulted on federal student loans before the pandemic, the Fresh Start program can help them re-enter repayment in good standing (enrollment is required by September 2024).

Clients of Edelman Financial Engines – or their children – who need help determining their repayment strategies can take advantage of our partnership with Savi* to help them navigate their options.

Additional resources and updated information can be found at the official Federal Student Aid DOE website.

Here come the scammers

Unfortunately, as we all know, fraudsters move at light speed to capitalize on confusion. The FTC has already issued a warning to consumers about people claiming to be from the DOE offering student loan assistance. 
 

Here are some tips to help keep you safe: 

  • Be sure to check on your current loan to be certain it is still being serviced by the same company and that all your contact information is up to date.
  • Don’t engage with anyone who calls claiming to be from the DOE or any other organization offering you special student loan assistance or forgiveness plans. Scammers are great at using official-looking logos, seals and emails that can seem convincing, so be very skeptical.
  • Never give away your Federal Student Aid log-in information! It’s a red flag if anyone calls and says they need it to help you.
  • If you have private loans, deal directly with your loan servicer. Or you can get help at Studentaid.gov

And of course, when in doubt, get in touch with your Edelman Financial Engines wealth planner.

* Edelman Financial Engines and Savi are not affiliated. Edelman Financial Engines receives no compensation from Savi. Savi may receive compensation from refinance referrals.



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