Why You Might Struggle with Repayment & What to Do
About It BY ELIZA HAVERSTOCK
YOUNGER BORROWERS FACE BUDGET CONCERNS Borrowers who left school and exhausted their six-month payment grace period during forbearance will need to fit student loan payments into their budget for the first time. That could be a challenge, especially if they’ve rented a pricier apartment, financed a car or taken on other debt with the assumption that they could afford those monthly bills. And many have done just that, the CFPB found. Today, younger borrowers (ages 18-29) face higher monthly bills than they did prior to forbearance. The typical younger student loan borrower now has median nonstudent loan, nonmortgage monthly debt payments north of $200, up from about $65 in March 2020. SERVICER SWITCHES COMPLICATE REPAYMENT To make matters even more confusing, the servicer that manages your student loan payments may have switched over the past three years. More than 14 million borrowers — 44% of the CFPB’s sample — will have to work with at least one federal student loan servicer that’s new to them since March 2020. After more than three years on the back burner, monthly federal student loan payments will finally start being due in October — and 1 in 5 borrowers could struggle when that happens, according to a new analysis from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Many borrowers could also fall behind on other debt obligations when student loan payments resume. More than 1 in 13 student loan borrowers are currently behind on other bills, an increase from before the pandemic, per the June 7 CFPB report, which analyzed a sample of about 32 million borrowers with outstanding federal student loans. The CFPB report also touched on risk factors, such as borrower age and the fact that millions of loans are being transferred to different servicers. If you think you’ll struggle when repayment resumes, there are steps you can take now to put yourself in a better position.
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