Payment Pause and Return to Repayment
Due to the economic challenges created by the pandemic, the federal government extended the student loan repayment pause a number of times during which time no one with a federally held loan had interest accrue or had to make loan payments from mid-March 2020 through August 2023. To ensure a smooth transition to repayment and prevent unnecessary defaults, the federal government announced these extensions during which time payments were automatically paused, interest free, with no opt-in request needed.
Payment Pause Update: In early June 2023, the President signed the debt ceiling agreement passed by Congress to avoid U.S. debt default, which also codified the end of the loan payment pause. The pause ended 60 days after June 30 with no further possibility of extension due to a provision in the debt ceiling agreement. Interest on federal student loans began accruing again on September 1, 2023.
Planning for repayment. Student loan borrowers should plan accordingly and work with their student loan servicer regarding making student loan payments. It is important to plan accordingly and make required payments so you can avoid student loan delinquency and default. Make sure to identify your servicer (see below) and contact them to update your contact information and ask questions, like how much you might owe or if you qualify for an income-driven repayment plan or one of the existing loan forgiveness programs, which your servicer can help you sign up for if you qualify.
Under the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan, making even periodic or partial payments could lower the amount of interest you accrue each month.
Identifying Your Loan Servicer
A loan servicer is a company that is contracted with the federal government to handle the billing and other services on federal student loans held by the U.S. Department of Education. You can find out who your loan servicer is on your account dashboard by logging into studentaid.gov or calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243. You can also see a list of contracted federal loan servicers and their contact information on the Federal Student Aid website.
If you borrowed a Perkins Loan (which is not held by the U.S. Department of Education), the school from which you borrowed the loan is your loan servicer. If you borrowed the Perkins Loan at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, visit the Office of Student Accounts website for more information.
A Fresh Start for Federal Student Loan Borrowers in Default
On April 6, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced an initiative—called “Fresh Start”—to help eligible borrowers in default. Fresh Start will continue through one year after the COVID-19 payment pause ends. If your loans are eligible, you’ll temporarily regain several student aid and credit reporting benefits. You’ll also get the opportunity to get out of default and keep those benefits for the long term. For more information about this program and how to qualify visit studentaid.gov.
Visit the Federal Student Aid COVID-19 Emergency Relief page for more information about student loan repayment, student debt relief, and any other details and frequently asked questions.
Additional Resources Regarding Student Loan Repayment
- Although you may select or be assigned a repayment plan when you first begin repaying your student loan, you can change repayment plans at any time for free. Contact your loan servicer if you would like to discuss repayment plan options or change your repayment plan.
- If you have multiple student loans you may be able to combine them into one loan with a fixed interest rate based on the average of the interest rates on the loans being consolidated. Learn more about loan consolidation.
You must complete exit counseling when you leave school or drop below half-time enrollment. The purpose of exit counseling is to ensure you understand your student loan obligations and are prepared for repayment. Learn more about exit counseling.