Friday, 22 September 2023

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Student loan payments are about to restart. Here’s what to know

Student loan payments are about to restart. Here's what to know

Woman going over her finances

Damircudic | E+ | Getty Images

1. There’s wiggle room for those struggling

Consumer advocates say many borrowers are likely to struggle readjusting to student loan payments.

“Even if the risk from the virus has diminished, the financial fallout has not,” Persis Yu, deputy executive director at the Student Borrower Protection Center, previously told CNBC.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has also warned that roughly 1 in 5 student loan borrowers have risk factors that could lead them to face difficulties meeting their bills.

To combat these concerns, the Biden administration is implementing a 12-month “on ramp” to repayment, during which borrowers will be shielded from the worst consequences of falling behind.

Specifically, for a year, borrowers’ late payments shouldn’t be reported to the credit bureaus and they will not face the normal collection activity, including wage and retirement benefit garnishments, said higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz.

2. Your student loan servicer may have changed

Several of the lenders that manage federal student loans for the government — including Navient, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (also known as FedLoan) and Granite State — stopped doing so during the pandemic-era pause.

As many as 4 in 10 student loan borrowers will be transferred to a different company by the fall, according to the CFPB.

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Those who were serviced by Granite State will now be with EdFinancial Services, said Kantrowitz, who has been tracking the changes. Accounts with Great Lakes Higher Education should be managed by Nelnet going forward, and Navient’s borrowers will be moved to Maximus Federal Services/Aidvantage.

Borrowers can check to see if they have a new servicer at

Meanwhile, borrowers shouldn’t have to do much during the servicer swap, said Scott Buchanan, executive director of the Student Loan Servicing Alliance, a trade group for federal student loan servicers.

Some will need to create an updated online account with their new company. “But the communications they received would have told them if they needed to take that step,” he said.

Even if the risk from the virus has diminished, the financial fallout has not.

Persis Yu

deputy executive director at the Student Borrower Protection Center

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