Though borrowers will have one year to enroll in the Fresh Start program once forbearance officially ends this fall, they should apply as soon as possible, advises Michele Shepard, senior director of college affordability at The Institute for College Access & Success. The application is already open. You can sign up for the Fresh Start program today by going to myeddebt.ed.gov and logging in to your account, or calling the Federal Student Aid Office at 1-800-621-3115. What if I can’t repay my student loans? Contact your servicer before you miss a payment. Ask about your options to lower or temporarily suspend payments through student loan deferment or forbearance. Start with an IDR plan, which sets payments at a portion of your income and extends your repayment term. These options can help keep you out of student loan delinquency (when a payment is late by as little as one day) and default (when a payment is at least 270 days late). Don’t skip student loan payments. Defaulting on your loans can set off a devastating cascade of financial consequences, says Kristen Ahlenius, director of education at workplace financial wellness company Your Money Line. This can include credit score hits, seized paychecks and more. Other ways to get help Some nonprofit and legal organizations can offer student loan help as you navigate a return to payments. But be aware of scams, and avoid debt relief companies and anyone offering loan forgiveness. Only the government can forgive your student loans. “It feels like there’s a lot of fervor and panic right now,” MacPhetres says. “But there’s time, there’s opportunity, lots of repayment options and the servicers are there to help.”
The article Supreme Court Strikes Down Student Debt Cancellation. Now What? was originally published on NerdWallet on June 30, 2023.
ELIZA HAVERSTOCK is a writer at NerdWallet.
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