Student loans: What to do to prepare in case repayments start in September

Pres. Biden could soon announce another extension to the freeze on repayments, but you should prepare in case that doesn't happen.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2022
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A freeze on federal student loan repayment is set to expire August 31st. Now's a good time to look into how to deal with your remaining loan debt.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A freeze on federal student loan repayment, prompted by the pandemic, is set to expire August 31st.

College graduates haven't had to make any federal student loan payments for the past two years.

But repayment could resume in September.

President Biden could soon announce another extension to the freeze, but there are steps you can take to prepare in case that doesn't happen.

UC Merced Sociology Professor Charlie Eaton expects the freeze to extended.

"They have signaled that they want to cancel some portion of student debt for most student loan borrowers before they restart payment. They're still working out kinks on that so it seems quite possible that they'll delay restarting repayment," he says.

Eaton says 90% of student loan debt is federal and has been administered by private loan servicers such as Navient, which has transferred its loans to a company called Aidvantage.

He says now's a good time to look into how to deal with your remaining loan debt should an extension not be granted.

"A very important tool that has been improved recently is what's known as income-based repayment and that's a plan you can enroll in that can reduce your payments to as low as zero, if you don't have enough income to keep up with your student loan payment."

You can apply through the Department of Education website.

Teachers, nurses, and other public service employees can take advantage of a program which forgives your loan balance if you've made payments for 10 years.

Should federal loan payments resume in the near future, Eaton doesn't think you should refinance that loan.

"If you refinance out, you might lose eligibility for loan forgiveness under these loan forgiveness programs," he says.

To access some resources to help you apply for federal loan forgiveness, click here and here.