‘When do student loan payments resume?’ It’s the top question student loan borrowers across the nation are seeking the answer to.
The confusion about when student loan payments resume is not surprising considering the events that have transpired over the past two years. The pause on student loan payments started in March 2020. Since then, it has been extended several times. Every time the ‘final’ deadline was announced, it was extended again. The pause was supposed to definitively end on December 31, 2022, and student loan payments were set to resume on January 1, 2023. But it has been extended again to July 2023. The latest extension is due to the court-ordered freeze on President Biden’s student loan cancellation program.
In light of the multiple extensions, it’s only natural for borrowers to ask when do student loan payments resume. Will student loan payments resume in July 2023 or will the pause be extended again? The truth is nobody knows for sure. A lot depends on the court ruling regarding student loan forgiveness.
The good news is you’ve got another six months before student loan payments resume. Put this time to good use and sort out your finances so you’re prepared to start making those payments.
11 Things You Can Do To Be Prepared When Student Loan Payments Resume
1. Update your contact information
Your loan servicer will start sending you notices about your payments about one to two months before they become due. These notices will be sent to the postal or email address that’s on your file. If you’ve moved home or changed your phone number or email address, it’s important to update these details.
Loan notifications from your loan servicers contain important information about your amount due and the new due date. These notifications will also include updates regarding the student loan cancellation program and other vital information. You do not want to miss any of these crucial notifications.
Don’t wait until the last minute. Log into your Federal Student Aid (FSA) account today and make sure that your contact information is up to date. As an additional precaution, it’s also a good idea to update your contact information on your loan servicer’s website.
2. Get your loan servicer details
Federal student loans are funded by the federal government but they are managed by loan servicers. The federal government randomly assigns every student loan to any of the contractors on their list. During the time loans were paused, several organizations ended their contract with the federal government. If any of them were managing your loans, you would have been assigned a new servicer.
The changeover should ideally proceed smoothly and you shouldn’t have to do anything. But, things can and do go wrong and could create issues for you when student loan payments resume. To avoid potential problems, it’s best to take time now to find out who the loan servicer is for each of your loans.
Your FSA account dashboard has the details of all your federal student loans. Against each loan, you can find information about the type of loan and your loan servicer name and contact details. Make sure, each servicer has your updated contact information.
If you need additional help or can’t log in, you can call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) for assistance.
3. Make a note of your monthly repayments
While you’re logged into your FSA account, take a look at your monthly payments and due date for each loan.
Create a spreadsheet and make a note of all your federal student loans. Against each loan list its interest rate, amount due, payment due date, and loan servicer name. Having all your loan details on one sheet will make it easier for you to set a budget and make a payment plan.
4. Budget for student loan payments 2023
Building a budget is the most time-consuming step but it’s also the most important.
Check your spreadsheet and calculate your total monthly repayments. You now know the total amount you’ll have to pay when student loan payments resume in July 2023. Do you have sufficient funds to make those payments?
Remember, you’re not just looking at the first month’s loan repayment. You’ll have to make those loan payments every month starting from July. Maybe you’ve saved enough to cover the first two or three loan repayments. But what about after that? Do you think you will be able to raise sufficient funds to cover those ongoing payments? Don’t forget to factor in rent or mortgage payments, utilities, groceries, and other ongoing essential expenses.
This is an important exercise and the sooner you get down to it the more time you’ll have to raise money to cover those payments. Are you going to cut back on your spending so you can save more to put toward those student loan payments in 2023? Or are you going to look for ways to earn extra income? Doing both can help boost your savings and make more payments more affordable. Whatever you decide, put your plan into action as soon as possible.
If you have money earning low interest in your savings account, consider transferring it to a high-yield savings account that pays higher interest. Ask your company’s HR department if they have any type of student loan assistance program. Explore every money-making and money-saving avenue over the next few months to make your loan payments affordable.
5. Set payment due date reminders
If you have multiple loans, you’ll have multiple payment due dates every month – one for each loan. Don’t try to commit these dates to memory. If you forget a date and miss that payment, you’ll end up paying a late fee fine, and interest unnecessarily. Setting recurring reminders for payment amounts and due dates will help you stay on top of everything without the added stress.
Lenders generally do send out loan statements and reminders but don’t rely on that. You’re liable to make all payments on time, regardless of whether or not you receive the reminder.
6. Renew or set up autopay
Setting up autopay offers a couple of notable benefits. For one thing, lenders will offer you an interest rate rebate for making payments through autopay. It’s a small discount but it can save you a lot of money over your loan term. Another benefit of autopay is that all your payments will get transferred from your account on time every month. This can save you the stress of manually transferring payments to different lenders on different due dates every month. It also reduces the risk of missing payments, which can be an expensive mistake.
If you hadn’t set up autopay earlier, do it now. You will need to get your loan servicer’s account details to do this.
If you had set it up earlier, log into your account and check when the last payment was made. Autopayments were put on hold when the payment pause came into effect. Make sure there are no payments after March 2020. If there are, request your lender for a refund. If your servicer for a particular loan has changed, you will need to cancel the old instructions and issue fresh instructions.
7. Check if you need to recertify your IDR plan
Had you already enrolled in an income-driven (IDR) plan before the loan pause came into effect? IDR plans calculate your monthly payments based on your income. According to the terms of IDR plans, you must update your details if your income, employment status, or family size has changed. This is known as recertifying your IDR plan.
If your income has dropped or your family has grown in size, you may qualify for lower monthly payments. Go here to get more details and recertify your IDR if necessary.
8. Rehabilitate loans in default
Federal student loans go into default if they remain unpaid 270 days past the due date. Were any of your federal student loans in default status before the start of the payment pause? The status of those loans would have remained unchanged from that time. That means they would still be in default.
Generally, when you default on a loan, there are severe penalties. Your wages and tax refunds may be garnished. You lose all federal benefits and you may have to pay collection and court fees if you’re sued for the amount. Besides your credit will also get damaged.
All of these consequences were paused along with the payment pause. But they will come into immediate effect as soon as student loan payments resume. It’s best to get in front of it now while you still have time.
Contact your loan servicer and ask them about the criteria and process for rehabilitating your student loans. This may vary among servicers. If you meet the criteria, fill out the application to get your loans out of default. If you don’t meet the rehabilitation criteria, speak to your servicer about your options. You may qualify for deferment or forbearance, which will postpone your payments further. However, with these options, interest will continue to accrue and will increase the cost of the loan.
9. Explore student loan consolidation
With consolidation, you combine two or more federal student loans into a single loan. This has its pros and cons. Advantages include simplified payments, potentially lower monthly payments, and access to additional repayment plans. The one big disadvantage is the loss of benefits and protections associated with the original loans.
Take time to explore student loan consolidation and its pros and cons to determine if this option is right for you. If it is, ask your loan servicer about the procedure and other requirements. Get everything ready so you’re all set to apply for consolidation when student loan payments resume.
10. If you can afford it, consider making payments starting now
You likely have some money saved up to start making payments in January 2023. Put that money to good use by paying off your student loans early. During the payment pause, interest rates were set to 0%. That means any payment you make during this time will go toward your principal and not toward interest. By the time student loan payments resume in 2023, the interest will start accruing on the lower principal. This can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in accrued interest over the term of your loan.
If you can afford it, don’t worry about when do student loan payments resume. Go ahead and start making those payments right away to chip away at your debt.
11. Consider all possibilities and explore payment alternatives now
You’ve worked on your budget and figured out how much you can save. You’ve also calculated how much more you can realistically earn until student loan payments resume. You have sufficient funds but any emergency could derail your finances. It’s advisable to be prepared for any eventuality. In this case, it’s a good idea to explore what other options are available to you. Do this in advance and find out all the requirements and formalities so you’re prepared if anything does happen.
One alternative that’s worth checking out is student loan refinancing. This can help lower your monthly payments and make them more affordable. If you have good credit, you would also qualify for a lower interest rate, saving you a lot in accrued interest. Read all about student loan refinancing and its pros and cons.
Don’t bank on another forbearance extension and don’t wait for too long to sort out your finances. The six months will go by faster than you think and the payment pause may not be extended again. You don’t want to be unprepared if student loan payments resume in July 2023. Missing a loan payment has expensive consequences. Start doing the groundwork now and in six months you’ll be relieved when you have everything to start making your repayments.
Don’t spend hours researching lenders and rates for refinancing student loans. RaptorFi’s Student Loan Refinance Rate Watch tool will search and compare loan rates for you and notify you when your specific loan conditions are met.