Top 5 Things to Do as Student Loan Payments Restart With the pause on federal student loan payments set to expire on August 31st, millions of borrowers across the country are faced with confusion. While the federal government could still choose to extend the pause for a seventh time – and the President could possibly even enact widespread student loan debt cancelation – those with federal student loans can’t assume anything and should proceed as if their loan payments will begin soon unless official word is otherwise shared. Since it’s been two and a half years since many borrowers have been required to make their federal student loan payments, there are undoubtedly questions that are arising about the best course of action when restarting payments. College Now’s Adult Programs and Services team, which has been helping individuals with their student loan debt and repayment plans for decades, has put together a list of the top five things borrowers should do ahead of payments potentially restarting next week:
- Get financially and mentally prepared for payments to restart! This is the most important first step – to get ready to make an additional payment every month. This is the time to stop spending all your pandemic relief funds and to start thinking about how you’re going to fit your loan payments back into your budget.
- Log in to the studentaid.gov portal NOW to review your account and reset your FSA ID if needed. If you haven’t been into your student aid account since the payment pause began, you might not remember what your loan balance looks like or what your monthly payment might be – so login to review it and get back up-to-speed with your loans!
- Prepare to pay the Standard payment or sign up for an Income Driven Repayment Plan. This means reviewing your budget to see what repayment amount is feasible for you in your current financial situation. If the Standard payment seems high, you may be eligible for an Income Driven Repayment Plan, which calculates your repayment amount based on your income. There are several different Income Drive Repayment options, so review them all to see what repayment amount you can best afford.
- If you are a parent with Parent PLUS loans, meet with College Now to learn about the double consolidation loophole. This can be a pretty time-consuming and confusing process but could help reduce your payments. Meet with our team to learn if this may be an option for you and let us help you navigate your way through it!
- If you have worked for a nonprofit or government organization since 2007 and are pursuing Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), submit the Employment Certification Form before October 31st. PSLF gives you the opportunity for loan forgiveness after 120 qualifying monthly payments are made under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer. The federal government recently enabled a limited PSLF-waiver for borrowers who may be able to receive credit for payments that previously did not qualify for the PSLF program. Visit studentaid.gov to learn more and see if you qualify.
- BONUS TIP! College Now can help you! If you still have questions about your student loan payments, including which repayment plan is best for you, how to consolidate your loans, or if you qualify for PSLF or another loan forgiveness program, the experts at College Now are here for you. Even if you just want to talk through how repayment will work, give our team a call! Services and support from College Now are always free, and appointments can be conducted in person at our Cleveland or Akron Resource Centers or virtually with one of our Adult Programs and Services team members.