Student Loan Payment Pause ends August 31, 2023
Student loan borrowers in Rhode Island should know the pause on federal student loan payments will end sixty (60) days after June 30, 2023, on August 31, 2023. This means that borrowers whose loan repayments were paused will have to resume their payments starting in October, and that interest will resume on outstanding loan balances starting on September 1, 2023.
Because student borrowers may have a different servicer than at the time they made their last payment, borrowers with unpaid student loans should identify the entity who owns and services their loans.
Borrowers could have one or more of several different types of federal loans, including Direct Loans, Federal Family Education Loans (FFELs), or Perkins Loans. While some loans are owned by the U.S. Department of Education, loans may also be owned by private companies, quasi-governmental organizations, or non-profits.
At the end of August, student loan servicers will send out letters to borrowers containing a statement of the amount owed after the pause on payments ends. Interest will resume accruing on that date – borrowers should check the terms of their agreement. Borrowers will then have 21 days to resume payments.
The FAQ below answers common questions regarding both the ending of the student loan pause, and the status of the Biden/Harris administration’s debt cancellation plan.
What should I do to prepare for the loan payment and interest pause to end?
If you know who owns and services your loan, you should immediately update your contact information on both your loan owner’s and servicer’s websites. This will ensure that your loan servicer can contact you regarding repayment.
However, your loan owner or, more likely, your loan service servicer may have changed since March 2020. In order to access any debt relief opportunities, it is crucial to find out what entity owns and what entity services your loans.
Why is the pause ending?
The pause is ending because of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, the debt ceiling bill President Biden signed on June 3, 2023. The bill includes a provision that prevents the Biden/Harris administration from extending the pause on student loan payments without an act of Congress.
How can I find out who owns and services my loans?
Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243, or login into your Federal Student Aid (FSA) account at studentaid.gov. In the “Loan Breakdown” section you will see a list of your loans, including loans you paid off or consolidated into a new loan. Review those of your loans which have an outstanding balance:
- If the name of the loan servicer starts with “Dept. of Ed” or “Default Management Collection System,” then that loan is owned by the U.S. Department of Education. The Department of Education is also likely working with a private loan servicer to service your loan – this company should be listed after “Dept. Of Ed” or “Default Management Collection system.” Make sure you are able to log in to your loan servicer’s website as well as studentaid.gov – you will likely make your loan payments through the servicer’s website.
- If the name of the servicer starts with either a company’s name or a school’s name, the loan is not owned by the Department of Education.
Consolidating your loans is one potential next step, but it is likely not in your best interest if you are eligible for the challenged One-Time Student Debt Relief program. Before you consolidate loans, call the FSA Information Center or speak to an attorney who can advise you about your options.
What should I do when I receive my billing statement once the pause ends?
Once you receive your billing statement, review it closely. If it does not include (1) your payment due date, (2) the amount of upcoming interest, and (3) the payment amount, your loan servicer may not be properly complying with state law.
When do I need to start paying back my student loans?
That depends on the type of loan you have, and the terms of the contract you signed. Read the terms of your loan agreement closely so you know when you are obligated to start making payments.
Student debt holders have access to the Federal Student Aid’s loan simulator (studentaid.gov/loan-simulator), which can assist student debt holders in figuring out which plan is best for them.
The Biden/Harris administration has announced an “on-ramp” to repayment that may grant certain accommodations for those who loans will begun accruing interest. Read the administration’s fact sheet for more information.
What if I don’t know how much I owe on my loan?
First, check if your loan balance is available through your Federal Student Aid account at studentaid.gov or through your loan servicer’s website.
If you still have trouble figuring out how much you owe, you have the right to have your debt validated under the Rhode Island Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. A debt collector is required to communicate the following within five days of contacting you:
– The amount of your debt;
– The name of the owner of your debt;
– The name of your original lender;
– That you have thirty days to dispute the validity of the debt; and
– That if you do dispute the debt, the debt collector is required to verify that the debt is valid.
Rhode Island’s Student Loan Bill of Rights gives borrowers other rights under the law, including the right to request details on the terms of their loan, progress toward repayment, and eligibility for loan relief programs.
What should I do if my loans were in default prior to the payment pause?
Should I be aware of any student loan scams?
1. If someone offers you debt relief in exchange for an upfront fee or regular payments, you should speak to your loan servicer. Your servicer will be able to help you troubleshoot any repayment issues you’re having, including switching your repayment plan at no cost.
2. If someone promises you immediate loan forgiveness in exchange for payment, they are trying to scam you. According to the Department of Education, “No one can promise immediate and total student loan forgiveness or cancellation.” Reach out to the Department of Education or your loan servicer if you think you might qualify for loan forgiveness.
3. Never give your FSA ID account or password out to anyone – the Department of Education will never ask for it, and any third-party who asks for it is likely trying to steal your identity.
What should I do if I think I have been scammed already?
I applied for student loan debt relief last year. What’s happening?
Are there ways to get student loan relief even though the Supreme Court blocked the Biden/Harris administration’s cancellation plan?
On July 14, 2023, announced that some borrowers would receive loan forgiveness in the amount of $39 billion for 804,000 borrowers. This forgiveness only affected certain borrowers, and for the most part applied to older debt. As new details emerge about this forgiveness, this page will be updated. Always check with the U.S. Department of Education for the most current guidance.
The federal government provides alternative student debt forgiveness options for select groups of Americans, including government and non-profit workers and teachers. Visit https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation for more details.
If you don’t qualify for forgiveness and are worried about paying off your loans, contact your loan service provider to discuss your options.