Since March 2020, federal student loan payments have been on pause — including no accruing interest, and collections on defaulted loans have been stopped. Despite calls to extend the student loan relief, the moratorium is still scheduled to expire on Jan. 31. However, repayment may still look different in 2022 than it did before the pause, especially with so many still in debt.
President Biden signed an executive order this week, directing federal agencies to streamline customer service activities. The Department of Education will be implementing a new federal student loan repayment system to allow Direct federal student loan borrowers to manage their loans through a repayment portal on StudentAid.gov.
“The Department of Education is already communicating with borrowers to help them prepare for return to repayment on February 1,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki in a press conference. “41 million borrowers have benefitted from the extended student loan payment pause, but it expires February 1, so right now we’re just making a range of preparations.”
According to the Department of Education, borrowers will be able to apply for, manage and repay their loans through the portal regardless of their federal student loan servicer, Forbes stated. However, a timeline has not been provided on the expected rollout, and borrowers will still have to deal with their specific servicer when repayment resumes.
Forbes also reported that the Biden administration established the Limited PSLF Waiver program in October, which temporarily eases the rules for student loan forgiveness for employees who work for certain nonprofit organizations and government agencies. This program allows thousands of additional borrowers to become eligible for student loan forgiveness.
The Department will also be temporarily easing the requirements for borrowers applying for, or renewing, income-driven repayment (IDR) plans for at least the first half of 2022. “Right now, you can self-report your income if all your loans are Direct Loans,” said the Department in mass emails to borrowers, Forbes reported. “Apply for an IDR plan now to prepare for your payments to restart.”
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