On August 6, 2021, the final extension of the federal student loan payment pause was announced by the Department of Education. With the announcement came the harsh reality that, after several extensions, the pause will finally come to an end after January 31, 2022.
The end of the payment pause means borrowers with outstanding federal student loans will start repaying loans again in February 2022. Not only will payments start back up, but so will interest charges and collections on defaulted loans.
Several useful resources exist to help borrowers as they transition back into making monthly loan payments. Whether you’re trying to determine where or how to send loan payments or the best student loan repayment strategy, the following resources will help guide you through the payment restart.
Top 5 resources for restarting student loan payments
The resources below can help you figure out where your loans currently stand and assist in devising an effective repayment plan for your loans.
1. National Students Loan Data System (NSLDS)
The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the database used by the Department of Education for all student aid. Accessing the NSLDS is helpful for a few reasons. First, it can help you identify your federal student loan servicer. With the recent news of several student loan servicers ending their partnership with the Department of Education, there’s a chance that your loan servicer changed or will change from the original servicer before the pause on loan payments.
Using the NSLDS website can also help you identify what type of student loans you received. While there, it’s also a good idea to check your contact information to make sure it’s current.
To access the NSLDS, you’ll need to log in using your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. You can also find out who your loan servicer is by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243.
2. Your loan servicer
Once you’ve determined your current loan servicer, your next step is reaching out to them, either through their website or their customer service team. Make sure you set up a free account with your servicer to access all of the information you need concerning your loan, loan payments, and due dates.
This is also who you need to contact first if you want to:
- Ask questions about payments or your loans.
- Pursue loan forgiveness.
- Change repayment plans.
- Get more information on deferment and forbearance options.
Some federal student loan servicers have a better reputation among borrowers than others. You might also need to contact your loan servicer if you have issues with payments or to file a complaint.
3. Federal Student Aid (FSA)
Federal Student Aid (FSA) is an office of the Department of Education. The FSA website is one of the best sources of information on all aspects of federal student loans. It includes detailed guides on:
- How financial aid works
- Types of financial aid (loans, scholarships, grants, work-study jobs, etc.)
- Types of federal student loans
- Eligibility guides
- The process of applying for and receiving financial aid
- Repayment plans
- Loan forgiveness, discharge, and cancellation
- Relief options
- How to avoid defaulting on your student loans
If you have questions about how student loans work or whether you qualify for aid, the FSA website should be your first stop to get answers.
4. Student loan repayment calculator
Now that loan repayment is starting back up, it’s a good idea to take stock of your loan amount and the best course of action for repayment. One of the best ways to do that is through using a student loan repayment calculator.
Our loan repayment calculator is one of the most comprehensive tools available to see how long it’ll take to repay your student debt. It also compares several repayment options to find the best one for your situation.
Along with a student loan repayment calculator, Student Loan Planner is home to several other helpful free student loan tools to help borrowers navigate student loan debt.
5. Student Loan Planner
Of course, we want to include Student Loan Planner on our list of helpful resources. We consider ourselves one of the best sources of information online for student loans and loan repayment. You can scan our database of articles by category or use the search bar to find more specific information.
Student Loan Planner also partners with several private student loan refinancing companies to offer cash bonuses if you choose to refinance your student loans. Refinancing isn’t the right option for everyone. For example, if you have federal student loans, you’ll lose access to protections like repayment plans, loan forgiveness programs and more.
In some cases, though, refinancing makes sense and could potentially save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
Another way that Student Loan Planner helps borrowers is through our student loan consultations. We’ve designed repayment plans with borrowers across the country, and tailor your pay-off strategy to your life goals and unique situation.
You can book a consult with one of our planners for a one-time flat fee. Our consultants work alongside borrowers to create a personalized repayment option that will save them money and hopefully lead to fewer headaches and heartaches.