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Student borrowers in default will receive a ‘fresh start’ when forbearance ends: Education Department

Federal student loan borrowers will be brought into good standing when payments resume in September, the Department of Education announced. (iStock)

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it is extending the student loan payment pause until August 31, giving borrowers an additional four months to prepare financially for the end of forbearance.

The extension also gives Education Department policymakers more time to ensure “student loan borrowers have a smooth transition to repayment,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said. in a report. This includes allowing delinquent and defaulting borrowers to resume payments in good standing.

“During the pause, we will continue our preparations to give borrowers a fresh start and ensure that all borrowers have access to repayment plans tailored to their circumstances and financial needs,” Cardona said.

About 7.1 million federal student loan borrowers were in default in 2018 before the payment pause began, according to Credible, citing the department’s most recent data. Defaulting borrowers will effectively be offered a second chance to build a better credit history, end wage garnishment, and regain eligibility for federal benefits such as time-based repayment and deferment plans. income.

Keep reading to learn more about how this decision will impact your student loan debt, as well as how you can prepare to start making payments again in September. One strategy to consider is to refinance a private loan at a lower interest rate, which can help you lower your monthly payments and get out of debt faster. You can compare student loan refinance rates on Credible for free without affecting your credit score.

HOW CAN BORROWERS RECOVER FROM STUDENT LOAN DEFAULT?

What Happens to Student Borrowers in the Event of Default or Default

During the student loan payment pause, most federal borrowers got temporary relief from the consequences of the delinquency or default. The Department of Education has suspended collection activities, which means tax refunds and other federal payments will not be withheld, wages will not be garnished, and interest will not accrue on loans.

When student loan repayments resume in September, all federal borrowers will get a “fresh start” by entering repayment in good standing. However, if a borrower misses a loan payment after the forbearance ends, their loan will become delinquent.

Student borrowers who are more than 90 days past due will be reported to credit bureaus as past due. This will lead to late fees and a negative impact on credit rating, which can make it more difficult to obtain favorable terms when borrowing credit cards, mortgages and car loans. Having bad credit can also make it difficult to rent an apartment, get home insurance, and register for utilities.

After a long period of non-payment, typically 270 days past the due date, borrowers can go from a delinquent state to a default state. The consequences of defaulting on federal student loan debt are more serious and can include:

  • Loan acceleration. This is when the entire outstanding student loan balance and any unpaid interest becomes immediately due.
  • Loss of benefits. Student loan borrowers in default can no longer apply for deferral, forbearance, or income-based repayment plans.
  • Damaged credit. Being in default has a greater negative impact on credit than delinquency. It can take years for defaulting borrowers to establish good credit.
  • Compensation from the Treasury. The servicer may withhold a borrower’s tax refunds and federal benefit payments and use them to repay the defaulted loan.
  • Judiciary process. Loan servicers can sue defaulting borrowers in court, which can result in court costs, collection costs, attorney fees, and even wage garnishment.

HOW LONG DO NEGATIVE ITEMS STAY ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT?

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has estimated that many federal student borrowers could be at risk of delinquency or default when payments resume. If you’re worried about not being able to make your monthly payments in September, you might consider refinancing to reduce your loan repayments.

Keep in mind that refinancing your federal debt into a private loan would make you ineligible for certain protections such as COVID-19 administrative forbearance, income-contingent repayment, deferment plans, and federal tax relief programs. student loan relief such as the Civil Service Loan Relief (PSLF). You can visit Credible to learn more about student loan refinancing so you can decide if this debt repayment strategy is right for your financial situation.

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION REVISITS POSITION ON FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS IN CASE OF BANKRUPTCY

How to prepare for student loan repayment in September

While borrowers with federal student loans will be returned to good standing when the forbearance ends, they are still at risk of becoming delinquents if they cannot resume their monthly payments. Below are some strategies to financially prepare for federal student loan repayment.

Contact your student loan officer

During the forbearance period, millions of borrowers saw their student loans transferred to a new servicer. The Biden administration has required student loan services to contact borrowers by email — so if you haven’t received any communication, contact your new service immediately.

Your student loan officer can give you more information about your payment due date, monthly payment amount, current interest rate, and remaining loan balance. You may also need to re-enroll in automatic payments if your loan manager has changed.

DEBT COLLECTORS CAN NOW CONTACT YOU BY SMS, EMAIL AND EVEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Enroll in an Income Driven Repayment (IDR) plan

Federal Student Aid (FSA) offers four types of IDR plans that allow federal borrowers to limit their monthly student loan payment to between 10% and 20% of their discretionary income:

  • Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYE Plan)
  • Pay As You Earn Reimbursement Plan (PAYE Plan)
  • Income Based Reimbursement Plan (IBR Plan)
  • Income Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR Plan)

After a repayment period of 20 or 25 years, borrowers enrolled in an IDR plan will see the remaining balance of their student loan debt discharged.

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT STUDENT LOAN CONSOLIDATION

Refinance a private student loan with better terms

Student loan refinancing consists of repaying the balance of one or more student loans by opening a new private loan with more favorable repayment conditions. Borrowers who refinance at a lower rate may be able to lower their monthly payments, pay off debt faster, and save money on interest charges over time.

While recent Federal Reserve policy changes have led to higher interest rates on fixed rate refinance loans, according to credible data, variable rate loan rates have trended lower in recent weeks. .

Average Student Loan Refinance Rates

Unlike federal loans, student loan refinance lenders determine a borrower’s interest rate based on their credit history and debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Applicants with very good credit will be eligible for the most competitive rates available, those with poor credit may need to use a creditworthy co-signer to qualify.

You can browse the current student loan refinance rates in the table below. You can also use Credible’s student loan calculator to estimate your new monthly payment, so you can decide if refinancing is the right repayment plan for you.

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