IDR ACCOUNT ADJUSTMENT, OR WAIVER In April 2022, the Education Department announced an IDR and Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or PSLF, one-time account adjustment — also called the IDR waiver — that will move millions of borrowers closer to the student loan forgiveness finish line. About 40,000 borrowers with older loans were to see balances wiped clean starting this spring, the Department of Education estimated, and more than 3.6 million borrowers are expected to receive at least three years of additional credit toward forgiveness under an IDR plan or PSLF when their accounts are updated in 2024. If you’ve been in repayment for at least 20 or 25 years (including forbearance time), you’ll be free of student debt after the adjustment. If you qualify for PSLF, you’ll be debt-free if 10 years have passed. What you can do about it: The recount is largely automatic — but if you have commercially held Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, Perkins or Health Education Assistance Loan (HEAL) Program loans, you must apply to consolidate them at by the end of 2023 to get the full benefits. Get started soon because the consolidation process can take time. Even if you weren’t enrolled in an IDR plan before the pandemic payment pause, you’ll still see the adjustment applied to your account. But if you have a balance remaining after the adjustment, you will need to sign up for an IDR plan once payments resume to keep building credit toward loan forgiveness. Borrowers can call their servicers and submit paperwork today so they’ll be all set to go into an IDR plan as soon as forbearance ends, Buchanan says. A NEW IDR PLAN A major revision to an IDR plan called REPAYE would halve monthly payments for many borrowers with undergraduate loans and help some reach loan forgiveness more quickly. Students who originally borrowed less than $12,000 would see their remaining balances wiped away after 10 years of payments, instead of the 20 or 25 years under existing IDR plans. The Education Department unveiled new details about the plan in January, but it’s not yet available to borrowers. Nor is it set in stone. The department aims to finalize and start rolling out the plan by the end of 2023. What you can do about it: Once the revised IDR is finalized, you can call your servicer to ask about signing up for it. Don’t count on it being available by the time federal student loan payments resume. STUDENT LOAN SERVICER SWITCHES The company that manages your student loans could change in the next couple of years. In April, the Education Department signed contracts with five federal student loan servicers. The new contracts are slated to go live sometime in 2024, but legacy contracts will last through December 2024 to smooth the servicer transition. Effects may be limited: Only one new servicer is entering the arena, and one — OSLA — is leaving. Eventually, the overhaul will also include the launch of a central servicer portal at StudentAid. gov. The portal is intended to lead to more customer service accountability and prevent borrowers from having to navigate servicer-specific websites. (continued)


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