Let’s Talk About Repayment!
After more than a three-year payment suspension, The U.S. Department of Education has ended the COVID-19 relief for federal student loan pause on loan payments and accruing interest. Student loan interest will restart on September 1, 2023, and payments will be due the following month in October.
The key to making a smooth transition into repayment is to start preparing early. Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry. We’ve done the research for you. Keep reading for helpful tips on how to prepare for student loan repayment successfully. As a reminder, questions pertaining to the administration of your loans should be directed to your loan servicer and not the school.
- Log in to StudentAid.gov
Using your FSA ID, log in to the StudentAid.gov federal site. Your FSA ID (the same you used to complete your FAFSA) will include a username and password. Once logged in, update your personal information and confirm your student loan servicer.
- Confirm your Student Loan Servicer
Your federal loan servicer may vary depending on the type of loan you have. If you don’t know who your servicer is, visit the “My Loan Servicers” section of your dashboard on the StudentAid.gov site.
- Log in to Loan Servicer Account
Once you have identified your federal loan servicer, create an account or log in to an existing one via the servicer’s website. Review and update your personal contact information, including your email and mailing address, so your servicer can reach you.
- Revisit Payment Setup
If you were previously signed up for automatic debit before the payment pause began, you must reauthorize or select automatic debit through your loan servicer account. This will allow your loan payments to be automatically withdrawn from your bank account every month. Automatic debit is not required as a payment method but can be helpful in ensuring your payments are made on time each month. Your loan servicer will offer various payment methods for you to choose from.
Picking the Right Repayment Plan
- Review Your Student Loan Servicer Account
Log in to your servicer website and make sure information on file is accurate. The contact information your servicer has may need to be updated. It is important that your servicer has accurate contact information so they can reach you with pertinent updates. While logged in, you should also review your outstanding balances and accrued interest.
- Consider Your Repayment Strategy
If you completed loan exit counseling, you selected a plan to repay your student loans. If you did not select a repayment plan, you were automatically placed in the standard plan. If the plan you were previously in no longer aligns with your repayment strategy, you may want to consider switching.
- Research Repayment Options
The standard repayment plan is solely based on the amount you borrowed and divides your balance (plus interest) into equal, fixed monthly payments. Others, known as income-driven repayment (IDR) plans, take your income into account. In many cases, an IDR plan will provide you with a lower monthly payment.
If you don’t remember which plan you are in, you can find it on StudentAid.gov or on your loan servicer’s portal. You can also find information on your outstanding balances, accrued interest, and current monthly payment. Your loan servicer may also have repayment calculator tools to help you figure out which plan is right for you. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education has a Loan Simulator on studentaid.gov to help you calculate student loan payments, decide whether consolidating your student loans is the right fit, and to choose a loan repayment option that best meets your goals.
Student borrowers may be able to significantly lower monthly payments with the U.S. Department of Education’s new SAVE Plan. To learn more about the SAVE Plan and the multiple benefits for borrowers, click here. *If you're currently on the Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) repayment plan, you will be automatically enrolled in the new SAVE plan and do not need to apply.
- Confirm Your Repayment Plan with Your Servicer
Once you have selected your plan, confirm, or make the change in your loan servicer portal or via the StudentAid.gov site. If you decide to change your repayment plan to a non-income-driven repayment (IDR) plan, log on to your loan servicer’s website to initiate the change. If you would like to apply for an IDR plan, you can do so via StudentAid.gov.
Keep in mind that if you select an IDR plan, you may be asked for additional information to certify your income and family size. If you need help selecting a plan or completing the process, contact your federal loan servicer.
Helpful Tips & Tricks to Consider