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Payments for student loans are paused, but will restart again at the end of August. (Shutterstock)
Unless President Joe Biden extends it again, the federal student loan payment pause will end on Aug. 31. When the pause ends, federal student loan borrowers will need to begin repaying their loans, interest will resume, and collections will likely resume on defaulted loans.
To help you prepare for when your payments resume, here are some options you can pursue, including qualifying for student loan forgiveness or refinancing your loans.
By visiting Credible, you can learn more about student loan refinancing and compare rates from multiple private student loan lenders.
- See if you qualify for student loan forgiveness
- Update your contact information
- Refinance your student loans
Student loan forgiveness means that you no longer have to repay part of or all your remaining federal loans.
Here are a few federal student loan forgiveness programs and their eligibility requirements:
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) — This type of loan forgiveness program is for those who work at a government or not-for-profit organization. To qualify, you’ll need to work full-time for a qualifying employer and have made 120 payments under an eligible repayment plan.
- Teacher Loan Forgiveness — Those who qualify may be eligible for up to $17,500 of forgiveness. You’ll need to have taught for a minimum of five years full-time at a qualifying school or educational service agency. Forgiveness applies to Direct Loan or FFEL Program loans.
- Total and permanent disability discharge — You could qualify to have your federal student loans for Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant service obligation discharged if you’re permanently disabled.
If you’re unsure what you may qualify for, it’s a good idea to contact your loan servicer to see what your options are.
Ensuring that your student loan servicer has the correct contact information is key so you’ll receive timely communication about your federal loan status, including when you’ll need to start making payments again. Information you’ll want to make sure is up to date includes your mailing address, phone number, and email address.
Refinancing your federal student loans can offer a few benefits, namely the ability to pay a lower interest rate. Check rates to see if you qualify for a lower interest rate first — which could save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. It could also mean your monthly payments are lower, giving your budget some breathing room.
However, refinancing has its drawbacks — most notably, the loss of federal loan benefits. Some of these include income-driven repayment plans (where your monthly payments are based on a percentage of your income) and federal loan forgiveness programs.
Given some of the drawbacks, it’s important to carefully consider whether you’re willing to give up federal student loan benefits in order to potentially save on interest costs. If you do decide to refinance, make sure you shop around and compare different loan options, including rates you may qualify for, and other features such as loan repayment options.
Researching private student loans can be cumbersome — Credible makes it easy by helping you compare loans through your lender partners within minutes. Enter details about the loan you want to refinance, and Credible will show you a list of loans you may qualify for.
To get started on refinancing your student loans, visit Credible and compare prequalified rates from multiple lenders.