The pandemic negatively impacted millions of people; yet, Government intervention mitigated some of the challenges. One of the ways the federal government reduced the economic impact was to pause the payments on federal student loans. After more than three years, students will soon need to start making payments on their student loans.
Repayment is expected to resume in June 2023.
Colleges and universities need to start taking steps now to address the policy change because institutions can face severe penalties, including cessation of eligibility for federal student aid, for high default rates.
Consider the obstacles that students and institutions will face:
- Imagine the impact on loan repayment rates for the millions of students who have not had to make payments for more than three years.
- Three years is a long time to have not budgeted for loan repayment.
- Economic downturns and high inflation rates will likely make it even more difficult for borrowers to successfully begin repayment again.
- It is going to be a perilous situation for student loan borrowers that will eventually influence federal aid eligibility for hundreds of institutions.
It is prudent to start making plans now to assist your borrowers and position your college or university to address the estimated $1.62 trillion that will soon go into repayment status.
Take proactive measures to ensure that your borrowers are aware of all the repayment options, including income-contingent payments, forbearance, and consolidation. Here are a few specific recommendations:
- Educate your borrowers on the details of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.
- Initiate a systematic communication plan with your borrowers by using postcards, letters, text messages, and/or emails.
- Help you borrowers with budget planning and preparation.
- Consider partnering with companies, such as Loan Science to assist with communication and outreach.
- Encourage students to use your financial aid office as a resource as they navigate the repayment process.
Much is still not known. The Biden administration sought to forgive an estimated $125 billion in student loan debt last May, but it is currently being challenged in court. Keep an eye on the outcome and implications of those cases.
Protect your institutional eligibility and proactively help your student borrower population.