By: Reyna Gobel MBA, MJ
It’s a strong rumor that makes complete sense that federal student loans payments won’t.resume on May 1st. The pandemic forbearance is a temporary payment break over the last two years where Direct student loans don’t have payments due or interest charged.
Congressional elections are in November and President Biden doesn’t want democrats to be voted out. Thus, he may not want the political risk of millions of borrowers suddenly resuming payments. Especially, since he promised $10,000 in student loan forgiveness that hasn’t happened yet.
Note: If you have any federal student loans issued pre-2010, read this important article on the older student loans and how to avoid an accidental default if you stopped making payments.
Here’s what we know about a potential extension so far:
Nothing is announced yet.
While there is a rumor that borrowers won’t resume payments on May 1st, we don’t know when they will resume. Keep checking this website every two weeks or so, as we will report the payment resumption date pretty quickly.
Don’t make payments now.
In the past, I’ve said make payments if you can because you can pay down the principle easy when no interest is charged. Now, there’s a possibility there may be some level of student loan forgiveness soon. Stick the payments amount in a savings account and earn interest. Since no interest is being charged on your loans right now, it’s a smart decision. And if forgiveness doesn’t happen, you can pay down your loans with what you’ve saved when payments eventually resume.
It doesn’t affect repayment payment grace periods.
For May graduates, any pandemic forbearance is independent from grace periods. Thus, if your grace period, the 6 months you get after graduation before payments are due ends in November, the pandemic forbearance only matters if it extends beyond November. However, you won’t accrue interest on unsubsidized loans while the pandemic forbearance exists. Regardless, if when the pandemic forbearance ends, you won’t accrue interest on any subsidized loans while in school and during other specified times and repayment plans.
Federal student loan servicers aren’t contacting you yet.
The number one reason to believe the repayment restart for federal student loan borrowers delay will happening is federal student loan servicers are told not to reach out to borrowers about the May 1st restart date, according to NPR. NPR and Politico reporters have seen the email from the Department of education to loan servicers.
The NPR story restores my faith in widespread loan forgiveness by Biden.
The NPR story reported a quote from Biden’s Chief of Staff Robert Klain from a recent podcast. “Joe Biden is the only president in history where no one’s paid on their student loans for the entirety of his presidency.” If he’s bragging about payments not being being made, that leaves a wide opening for loan forgiveness discussions.
We’re likely getting another extension on no interest and repayment resumption of federal student loans. Now, it’s time to strategize what you’re going to do with it. Don’t make extra payments. Keep the money in a savings account. After all. $0 payments during this time still count towards programs such income-driven repayment. However, watch for the new repayment date in servicer emails and right here at collegeparents.org. We’re watching out for you.