Millions of student loan borrowers are about to go debt-free

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The U.S. Department of Education recently announced some major changes to the federal student loan system that could bring millions of borrowers closer to debt forgiveness.

Federal student loan borrowers have long run into serious problems, including misinformation from their servicers, too many options, and complicated terms. The Department of Education is currently trying to fix those problems.

Outstanding student loan debt in the US exceeds $1.7 trillion, burdening households more than credit card or auto debt. More than 40 million Americans have school debt, and up to a quarter are in delinquency or default.

“The Department of Education will begin to overcome years of administrative failure,” said US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona speak Tuesday in a statement.

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Now, the Biden administration has expanded Covid pandemic-The tiered relief policy halts federal student loan payments until at least September (it’s been in effect for more than two years).

Once payments are back on, here are some of the changes borrowers will see.

Bans are re-evaluated

Owners of federal student loans can pause their payments in an option known as a patience. Each moratorium can last up to a year, and borrowers can hit the relief up to three times. However, interest accrued on borrowers’ debt during the pause, and companies offering federal student loans have been accused of pulling people in too quickly.

To try to ease some of the pain of these expensive delays, the Education Department says borrowers are on track to get their debt forgiven – either through a public service debt forgiveness program or a debt-based repayment plan. on earnings – can get some or all of the months they were enrolled in them to be counted.

Usually, that time doesn’t count toward their tally of qualifying payments for cancellation. (Debt forgiveness for those on an income-based repayment plan will occur after 20 or 25 years, and after 10 years for those pursuing a public service loan.)

Betsy Mayotte, president of Student loan consulting institutea non-profit organization.

Mayotte says the change will be automatic. However, if a borrower has not been in the ban for 12 consecutive months or for 36 months, there is a process by which they can appeal to the Department of Education ombudsman to try and time the money. , she speaks. .

A shorter timeline for forgiveness

It was recently discovered that student loan providers do not track the number of payments borrowers have made in income-based repayment plans, higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz said.

“The remaining debt is supposed to be automatically forgiven,” Kantrowitz said. “But can’t do this automatically if the loan officer doesn’t track the number of qualifying payments”

To remedy this, the Department of Education will require service workers to count the number of eligible payments retroactively, he said.

A fresh start if you’re in default mode

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