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4 steps to take now for easier student loan payments

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Starting or restarting your student loan payments? Here are four action steps that will help you choose the best repayment plan for your budget and goals, as well as simplify the overall process:

 1. MAKE SURE YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION IS UP TO DATE.

Did you move, update your email or get a new phone number while your payments were postponed? Since communications about your loan will likely be emailed or mailed, make sure all your information is correct both on the Federal Student Aid website and your loan servicer’s website. 

Who is my student loan servicer?
Your loan servicer works with you to handle billing and other services of your federal student loan, at no cost to you. If you’re not sure who your loan servicer is, you can call 800-433-3243.

 2. LEARN YOUR STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT OPTIONS.

  • Income-driven repayment (IDR) plan – This type of plan adjusts your monthly student loan payment based on your income and family size. You can compare the four different types of IDR plans and choose the best one for you.
  • Payment on-ramp – To help borrowers transition back to making regular payments, the government created a temporary “on-ramp” period through September 2024. This means if you miss or make late or partial payments, you won’t be reported as delinquent or face negative credit reporting. However, your payments are still due, and interest will continue to add up. Loans that were eligible for the payment pause are eligible for the on-ramp.
  • Student loan forgiveness In certain situations, like if you work in public service, you can have your federal student loans forgiven, canceled or discharged – which means you won’t have to pay back some or all of your loan.
  • Student loan deferment or forbearance – You may be eligible to temporarily suspend your payments, but you typically need to apply or send in documentation to your loan servicer for consideration. Just keep in mind this won't help you make progress toward paying back your loan.

 3. SET UP AUTOMATIC PAYMENTS FOR YOUR STUDENT LOAN, IF POSSIBLE.

This is an option that not only makes it easier to make payments on time, but also saves you 0.25% on your federal student loan interest rate. With autopay, you’ll get a reminder about your upcoming payment, so you’ll always know the withdrawal is coming. You can set up autopay on your loan servicer’s website, and you can always pause autopay if you need to.

Important reminder: You’ll likely need to sign back up for autopay if you were enrolled before the student loan payment pause.

4. KNOW HOW TO AVOID STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT SCAMS.

With headlines swirling around about federal student loans, scammers love to take advantage of big news. If you see offers for repayment “help,” keep these tips in mind:

  • Don’t pay for help with your student loans. You can get help for free at StudentAid.gov/repay. For private loans, you should speak directly with your loan servicer.
  • Never share your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID login credentials.
  • Be wary of calls, emails or any other claims promising debt relief or loan forgiveness. Scammers have gotten exceptionally good at impersonating legitimate organizations, like the Department of Education, using real-looking names and logos.
  • Don’t click on any links you receive in suspicious texts or emails claiming to be about student loan repayment. When in doubt, call or email the organization using their direct contact information.

For more information about existing student loan payment options, visit the Federal Student Aid website.

Everyone’s financial situation is different, and we understand student loan payments are only part of your budget. If you have private student loans, talk with your financial institution about refinancing or other options that may work better for you. To connect with an expert who can help answer questions, review your budget and share helpful tools, we’re always here to help at 800-236-5560.

Source:
Studentaid.gov

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