By Cassandra Krause
This article was published on October 3, 2023. Political and legal challenges to student loan forgiveness programs may result in changes to the information below.
Following a Supreme Court decision halting the Biden Administration’s plan to forgive some or all federal student loan debt for tens of millions of borrowers, the pause on student loan payments ended with interest resuming on September 1, 2023 and payments due in October 2023. Many borrowers are resuming payments for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 or are making payments for the first time ever. Some borrowers had never accessed their student loan online account and may not have been aware of how much their monthly payments would be or who their loan servicer is.
Beware of Scams
The changes have led to widespread confusion and mistrust of information. Scammers have been quick to exploit the situation by contacting borrowers via phone calls, texts, or emails urging them to act quickly to qualify for false forgiveness offers — pressuring the borrower to divulge passwords and personal information or pay fictitious fees up front. It is important for borrowers to know that the right place to go for information is StudentAid.gov. The U.S. Department of Education and its partners will never ask for a borrower’s StudentAid.gov username and password over the phone, and loan servicers will work with borrowers on repayment options without charging a fee.
Where to Start
If they have not already, borrowers are encouraged by the U.S. Department of Education to take the following steps to get on track with student loan repayment:
- Update your contact information with your loan servicer(s) and on StudentAid.gov and make sure you have an online account set up on each website. Find your servicer(s) by visiting your Dashboard on StudentAid.gov.
- Explore affordable repayment plans and paths to forgiveness. Check out details of the new repayment plan called the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan at StudentAid.gov/save. Compare repayment plans with the Loan Simulator at StudentAid.gov/loan-simulator.
- Enroll (or reenroll) in auto pay on your loan servicer’s website, which will ensure your payment is automatically processed every month, so you don’t miss a payment. Auto pay is optional, but if you choose auto pay, you’ll save 0.25% on your interest rate.
- Check if you qualify for a type of targeted loan forgiveness at StudentAid.gov/forgiveness.
Options Available to Borrowers
Depending on a borrower’s individual situation, several options for income-driven repayment or forgiveness may be available.
- The SAVE Plan is an income-driven repayment plan that calculates the borrower’s monthly payment amount based on their income and family size. The new SAVE Plan replaces the Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Plan.
- Borrowers who are employed full-time by a qualifying government or not-for-profit organization may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program after making the equivalent of 120 qualifying monthly payments under an accepted repayment plan. This could include teachers, nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals. Learn more at StudentAid.gov/pslf.
- Disabled borrowers may qualify for Total and permanent Disability (TPD) discharge of federal student loans. Learn more at DisabilityDischarge.com.
- Borrowers whose school closed or who were defrauded by their school may also qualify for discharge of their federal student loans.
Borrowers with additional questions may call the confidential, free hotline offered by the Wisconsin Coalition on Student Debt. The hotline is staffed 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and can be reached toll free at 833-589-0750.