Horizons. “And then take the time to figure out what you need to do.” If you set money aside during the payment pause, consider making a lump sum student loan payment toward your balance before September 1 to avoid racking up interest. Find your servicer and set up payments Check to see who your servicer is. Roughly 44% of borrowers now have a different federal student loan servicer than before the pandemic, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You can identify your servicer by logging into your account with your FSA ID or calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800-433-3243. Your servicer can help you do the following: • Check that your contact information is up to date. • Determine the amount you owe, the size of your monthly payments and when your first bill will be due. • Set up auto-pay. If you had this set up before forbearance, you’ll need to sign up again. • Discuss student loan repayment plan options to potentially lower your monthly bills. Expect long wait times when calling your servicer, cautions Scott Buchanan, executive director of the Student Loan Servicing Alliance. You may also be able to check some of this information on your servicer’s self-service online portal to avoid the customer service bottleneck. Ask about income-driven repayment plans If you anticipate not being able to make your student loan payment, your servicer can set you up with different payment plans and relief options. Consider asking about income-driven repayment (IDR) plans, which cap monthly bills at a set percentage of your income and erase remaining student debt after you make payments for a set number of years. If you earn below a certain income threshold or have lost your job entirely, you could pay as little as $0 per month under an IDR plan. And a new IDR plan is in the pipeline that could cut monthly payments in half for most borrowers with undergraduate loans, and fast-track some with lower balances to forgiveness. “I don’t know whether that plan will be ready to go in the fall,” Mayotte says. “But I know that there is a strong desire by the administration to get that plan, whatever it looks like, up and running sooner rather than later.” If your student loans are in default A temporary government program called Fresh Start could help if you had student loans in default before the payment pause. The program gives these borrowers the opportunity to re-enter repayment in good standing and access IDR plans and other relief. (continued)


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