6 Ways to Prepare for Student Loan Repayment to Begin Again

Loan Repayment3 minutes

Your monthly student loan payments will begin again after the COVID-19 emergency relief ends. Here are six things you can do to prepare—and to make payments more affordable if need be.

1

Update your contact info.

Make sure your contact information is up to date in your profile on your loan servicer’s website and in your StudentAid.gov profile. Wrong contact information could make you miss important updates.

2

Get info about your next payment.

Once the payment pause ends, your loan servicer(s) will send you a billing statement or other notice. This notice will include your

  • payment due date,
  • upcoming interest, and
  • payment amount.

Your payment will be due no sooner than 21 days after your servicer sends the billing statement.

To find out your upcoming payment amount, log in to your loan servicer’s website. If your servicer doesn’t provide this info online, you can call or email your servicer.

If you don’t know who your servicer is or how to contact them, follow these steps:

  1. Visit your dashboard.
  2. Find the “My Aid” section.
  3. Select “View loan servicer details.”

If you can’t log in, call us at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) for loan servicer info.

Loan Servicer Contact
FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA) myfedloan.org
Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc. mygreatlakes.org
HESC/Edfinancial edfinancial.com
MOHELA mohela.com
Navient navient.com
Nelnet nelnet.com
OSLA Servicing public.osla.org
ECSI efpls.com
Default Resolution Group (also known as Maximus Federal Services, Inc.) myeddebt.ed.gov

Enrolled in Auto-Debit?

If you plan to repay your student loans by auto-debit, check to make sure you are enrolled. Watch for news from your loan servicer before your payments start again.

3

Make sure you’re on the best repayment plan for you.

A Standard Plan first monthly payment of $363 could be $175 under a REPAYE Plan. This estimate was calculated using Loan Simulator.
Changing your repayment plan may reduce how much you pay each month.

Your situation may have changed during the COVID-19 emergency. Now is a great time to think about whether you’re on the best repayment plan for you.

Use Loan Simulator to explore your repayment options. Find info and tips on how to use Loan Simulator.

Even if you change your repayment plan now, you can always change your plan again later.

The U.S. Department of Education offers a variety of repayment plans. For example, an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan is based on how much money you make. Under an IDR plan, payments may be as low as $0 per month.

If you have a gross annual income of $40,000 or lower, you could save by switching to a REPAYE Plan. Visit Loan Simulator to explore estimates of how much you could save.
A Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Repayment Plan could save you money.

4

Take action if you want to lower your monthly payment.

After understanding all your repayment options, you may choose to apply for a specific plan. Or you can ask to be placed on the plan that results in the lowest monthly payment amount.

Are you already on an IDR plan, but your income changed recently? You can update (recertify) your info to see if you can get a new, lower payment amount. Recertify by following these steps.

Visit the link above to find the steps to recertify an IDR plan.
Take steps to recertify your IDR plan.

Consolidating your federal student loans may also lower your monthly payments. However, you should consider the pros and cons of consolidation to decide if consolidation is right for you.

Consolidating several loans into one Direct Consolidation Loan results in a single, weighted interest rate and could result in a lower monthly payment.
Consolidation combines your loans and may result in a lower monthly payment.

5

As a last resort, contact your loan servicer to ask for short-term relief.

If you can’t find a repayment plan that works for you right now, you can request to temporarily pause or lower your payments through short-term relief (deferment or forbearance). Before you make a request, use Loan Simulator to learn how this short-term relief affects your loans and loan payments. Then contact your loan servicer to request a deferment or forbearance.

Remember, a normal deferment or forbearance is different from the COVID-19 emergency payment pause. Interest can still accrue (add up) during deferment or forbearance. Deferment and forbearance also affect loan forgiveness options, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness or IDR plan forgiveness.

6

Understand what happens if you don’t repay your loan.

If you miss a payment, your loan becomes delinquent.

If your loan is delinquent for 90 days or more, your loan servicer will report the delinquency to the three major national credit bureaus. Delinquency will affect your credit score, making it harder to get credit.

After 270 days, your delinquent loan goes into default. When you default on a loan, here’s what happens:

  • You can lose your access to more student aid.
  • The default status will damage your credit score.
  • The government can take
    • your tax refund,
    • part of your Social Security benefits, or
    • up to 15% of your paycheck

to pay off your defaulted loan.