This story is being republished under a special NJ News Commons content-sharing agreement related to COVID-19 coverage. Link to story and video: njspotlightnews.org/video/student-loan-repayments-resume-oct-1-what-to-do-what-to-avoid/
The pandemic-related pause on federal student loans that began in March 2020 will end October 1 with borrowers expected to make their first payments in more than three years. Interest on those loans resumed September 1, and experts say this will be a hard adjustment for millions for borrowers around the country but are hoping government aid in the form of repayment plans can soften the blow.
“A lot of these repayment programs have been in place since the Reagan administration,” said Paul Oster, president of Better Qualified, a credit repair firm based in Eatontown. “But the Biden administration has updated them to include more people, to make it even more affordable for these people to actually pay off their student loans.”
It’s up to borrowers to be as proactive as possible to figure out how to make payments on time at the risk of negatively affecting their credit scores, Oster said. “When was the last time you logged into your account? When was the last you spoke to your servicer? Be very, very proactive,” he said.
Oster cautions against holding out for complete loan forgiveness as proposed by the Biden administration, with the updated loan repayment options likely as good as it gets for borrowers. And he said borrowers should be on the lookout for bad actors and warns against taking unsolicited phone calls, e-mails or texts about repayment options. The best way for borrowers to get relevant information is to go to www.studentaid.gov, an official site operated by the federal Department of Education.