Democrats want federal student loans suspended until March 2022: here are the options available to private loan borrowers

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Federal student loan payments are expected to resume in October, but Senate Democrats want to extend the payment freeze. (iStock)

Leading Senate Democratic lawmakers are pushing President Joe Biden to extend the freeze on federal student loan payments put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic last year until at least March 2022, as duty officers report that ‘They are not ready to resume payments in September.

Meaning. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) And Tina Smith (D-Minn.) sent a letter at the end of June to CEOs of all federal student loan service companies, questioning their readiness to put student loan borrowers back on their loan repayment plan when the forbearance period ends on October 1, 2021. Senators recently published responses to that letter, revealing that duty officers were concerned about their ability to end student loan forbearance as well as the ability of Americans to repay their student loan debts before due dates of October.

If you have private student loans, the payment freeze and temporary 0% student loan interest rate will not apply to your loan. If you are having trouble making your payments, visit Credible to find out what your options are including refinancing your loan at a lower interest rate to lower your monthly payments.

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After receiving these responses, Warren and Markey then sent a letter to President Biden, urging him to use executive action to extend the suspension of payments until March 2022 or until unemployment reaches pre-pandemic levels.

What was said in the letter to Biden?

The Democrats’ letter to the president included strong pressure in their case to extend the freeze on student loan payments, stating that the information they had received from agents was convincing enough to justify such an extension.

“The resumption of payments is currently scheduled for October 1, 2021, but the information we received in our investigation strongly supports an extension of the pause on student loan payments and interest,” Senators said. “Responses to our survey indicate that neither student loan borrowers nor student loan officers are ready to resume payments, and officers will need a significant amount of time to ensure staff and procedures are ready to go. provide borrowers with a high level of support.

“One duty officer described the complexity of resuming payments as ‘unprecedented’, noting that” federal student aid officers have never attempted to transfer more than 43 million accounts at one time in all. the country, ”the letter continued. “We therefore urge you to extend the current pause on payments and interest until at least March 31, 2022.”

Private student loan borrowers do not have as many student loan flexibilities and will not be affected by the decision to end the forbearance. If you have a private student loan and want to see if you could qualify for historically low interest rates, visit Credible to compare several private lenders at the same time.

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Why do Senate Democrats want to extend the federal student loan hiatus until March 2022?

In their letter to Biden, Democratic senators noted that the responses they received to their letter to the agents indicated several points to remember, including:

  • Student loan freeze provided much needed relief for borrowers
  • Communication between the majority of federal loan departments and borrowers has been minimal pending direction from the Department of Education.
  • Agents will need more time to secure adequate staff to support borrowers
  • Borrowers in transition from FedLoan Servicing, which recently announced that he will not be renewing its contract with the Ministry of Education, to new service providers will require more time to ensure borrowers are not negatively affected

Senators pointed out that most service agents reported little or no contact with their borrowers during the suspension of payments – which could have “devastating” results once it is time to resume payments.

“This lack of contact with borrowers could have devastating effects: as one service agent noted,” It is only when we are able to communicate with borrowers that we are able to help them navigate. into the myriad of complex repayment options and to help avoid default, ”the letter to Biden states.

While federal student loan borrowers have seen their payments suspended over the past year, private student loan borrowers have continued to make payments. If you’re struggling to pay off your student loan, you could lower the monthly cost by refinancing at a lower interest rate. Visit Credible to get started and get pre-approved in minutes.

But senators are not the only ones asking for extensions. A day after Warren and Markey sent their letter to the president, 128 companies sent a letter to Biden, also urging his administration to extend the payment freeze. They haven’t pushed back an extension until March 2022, but rather until the president keeps his campaign promise to cancel federal student debt.

“You ran for President on the promise that you would reform the student loan system to ensure that student debt would not be a lifelong burden and that student loan repayments would be affordable for those who repaid,” the letter said. . “It is essential that your administration providess on those promises made to student borrowers and their families before ending the pause in payments and collections. “

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What can private student loan borrowers do in the meantime?

The possible extension of a payment freeze would not apply to private student loan borrowers, since their loans are controlled by private companies and not backed by the government. However, there are still options available for those with private student loans who are struggling to make their payments, including:

  • Abstention: While private student loan holders do not receive the same benefits as federal student loan holders, many lenders recognize today’s tough times and offer options for forbearance. While not interest-free, lenders will still freeze payments for those who cannot make them due to COVID-19. Private student loan borrowers should contact their loan officer to discuss their options.
  • AdjournmentLike forbearance, deferral could allow borrowers to defer or reduce their loan repayments for a variety of reasons, depending on their lender. But unlike forbearance, the deferral will not earn interest while payments are suspended. This option can apply to students attending graduate school, on maternity leave, facing economic hardship and more. However, deferral leaves borrowers with the largest repayment amount when the time comes. Because these are not federally mandated, each lender has their own deferral fee rules.
  • Refinance: Neither forbearance nor postponement should be sought as a long-term cure for student loans. Refinancing your private student loan in today’s low interest rate environment, however, could significantly reduce your monthly payments and the amount of interest you pay over the life of the loan. Refinancing your student loans is a great permanent solution when interest rates are low to set you up for success when it comes to making your monthly payments and paying less over the life of the loan. Refinancing could allow you to consolidate loans, get a better interest rate, change your repayment term, and more.

If you have a private student loan and want to know your options, contact Credible to speak to a student loan expert and get all your questions answered.

Have a finance-related question, but don’t know who to ask? Email the Credible Money Expert at moneyexpert@credible.com and your question could be answered by Credible in our Money Expert column.

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