Education Ministry sends ominous warning to student loan borrowers

The Education Department is sending out mass notices to borrowers regarding the suspension of student loans, warning them that they will soon have to resume repayment.

“The collections stopped and the period of interest at 0% have been extended one last time,” said the press release sent by email in bold type. “This is the last deadline. Payments will resume after January 31, 2022. ”

Last month, the Biden administration extended the break in student loan payments, the interest freeze and the suspension of collections until January 31, 2022. The relief was originally scheduled to expire on September 30. In its initial announcement, the administration qualified this decision as a “definitive” extension of student loan relief, which has been in effect since March 2020.

Education Ministry warning comes as federal moratorium on evictions ends following a Supreme Court decision, extended federal unemployment benefits are set at expire, and the latest pandemic wave caused by the Delta variant shows no signs of abating. Millions of Americans are also facing ongoing natural disasters, including wildfires in the west, hurricanes hitting the Gulf Coast, and now widespread flooding in the Southeast, Mid Atlantic and New England. The Biden administration’s strong language in its statement suggests that these external factors would not form a basis for a further extension of the student loan hiatus, unlike previous statements (before the most recent extension) that economic conditions and public health issues would be taken into account in decisions on whether to extend or expand student loan relief.

Meanwhile, the Education Department has yet to announce a formal plan to deal with the impending and potentially massive disruption caused by the upcoming departure of several student loan managers, including FedLoan Servicing, which manages the rebate program. public service loans. The Biden administration will need to transfer more than 10 million accounts from student loan borrowers to other loan departments in the coming months. These transfers have historically chaotic summer, resulting in widespread problems for borrowers, such as damage to credit and loss of records. The Biden administration suggested it would consider so-called bridging contracts with other student loan managers to take over the affected accounts. But no plan or timeline has been announced.

The Biden administration has also not announced any formal decision on its intention to pursue widespread student loan cancellation. Biden has administratively written off hundreds of millions of dollars in student loan debt for borrowers in recent months, but that’s only a small fraction of the $ 1.8 trillion in student loan debt that remains unpaid. Top Democrats in Congress and dozens of student loan borrower advocacy groups argued that President Biden has broad authority to enact widespread student loan forgiveness using executive action; in April, Biden ordered his administration to conduct a legal review of those statutory authorities, but no announcement has yet been made that the review has reached a conclusion.

In its message to borrowers, the Ministry urges borrowers to “update their contact details” and “start planning for repayment” to resume. The ministry is warning borrowers to “pay attention to updates” in the coming months.

In the coming months, student loan borrowers may also want to consider requesting a recalculation of their payments under income-based repayment plans if their financial situation has deteriorated. Borrowers on track to remitting public service loans may want to certify their employment and confirm eligible payments before repayment resumes and service transfers. And all borrowers should take the time to keep all important records like payment histories and key correspondence.

Further reading

Student Loan Cancellation Debate Continues Amid Service Disruption

Your student loan manager is changing: 7 steps to protect yourself now

Biden wants ‘targeted’ student loan cancellation – but what does that mean?

What do Biden’s three recent student loan actions mean for borrowers

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About Raymond E. Hughes

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