The restart of payments on federally funded student loan debt will begin in August, a date agreed upon as part of negotiations over the debt ceiling bill between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden.
The restart of payments comes after the more than three-year pause in payments and accrued interest that went into place at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. As part of the negotiations over the debt ceiling bill, the end of the pause on payments now has a hard ending date.
Actually, it has two dates.
The pause will end either 60 days after the U.S. Supreme Court issues a decision on lawsuits brought against the administration over the loan forgiveness plan, or the pause will end 60 days after June 30, whichever comes first.
Since it is not clear when the Supreme Court will issue its ruling, the latest the pause will be lifted is Aug. 29 — 60 days after June 30, per the agreement made over the debt ceiling bill. The bill says payments will resume no later than Sept. 1.
The restart of payments will affect some 43 million borrowers who together owe over a trillion dollars in student loan debt.
One factor that could change the date of the loan repayment is a joint resolution passed by Congress over the past two weeks. The legislation, passed with the help of some Democratic senators and representatives, calls for borrowers to begin repaying loans and blocks Biden’s loan forgiveness program.
Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana voted for the bill, as well as independent Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.
In the House, Maine Rep. Jared Golden and Washington Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, both Democrats, voted for the bill.
However, Biden has said he will veto the bill when it gets to his desk.
The joint resolution was introduced in late March using the Congressional Review Act. The act allows Congress to roll back any regulation from the executive branch without needing to clear the 60-vote threshold in the Senate that is necessary for most legislation to pass.
Republicans say taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for people who chose to take out loans to pay for college educations.
“We’re asking taxpayers at large to foot the bill for student loan cancellation for Americans who enjoy greater long-term earning potential than many of the Americans who will be helping to shoulder the burden,’’ said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.
“The president’s student loan giveaway isn’t a government handout for the needy, it’s a government handout that will be disproportionately beneficial to Americans who are better off.”
Democrats argue that the bulk of the help on loans will go to those who can least afford to repay them.
“I’ve heard from so many people across my state who were so grateful and relieved to have a glimmer of hope, to see a light at the end of the tunnel and now Republicans want to snuff it out,’’ Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said.
What should you do if you have a loan payment coming up? First, make sure your student loan servicer knows where you are. Go to your servicer’s website and verify that it has your latest contact information.
Your loan servicer may text or send out notices by email or mail with information about the resumption of payments.
If you don’t know who services your loan, go to StudentAid.gov, find your account dashboard and scroll down to the “My Loan Servicers” section. You can also call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.
“People should know the clock starts ticking and interest starts accruing,” Scott Buchanan, executive director at the Student Loan Servicing Alliance trade organization told USA Today. “They should start contacting their servicers now.”