Last updated January 24, 2021
What You Need to Know about Student Loans in 2022
Federal Student Loan Payments (and Interest) Will Restart after May 1, 2022
The COVID-19 emergency relief for federal student loans ends on May 1, 2022. This page will help you prepare to make student loan payments and explain how you can discharge your student loans, if eligible.
Why and when is federal student loan relief ending?
The CARES Act provided broad relief for federal student loan borrowers. Since March 27, 2020, all payments on federally-held student loans have been paused and the interest rate on federal student loans set to zero percent.
On Dec. 22, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) extended the student loan payment pause through May 1, 2022.
The pause includes the following for eligible loans:
- a suspension of loan payments
- a 0% interest rate
- stopped collections on defaulted loans
Is there a way to discharge my federal student loan if I have a documented disability?
Yes. The Department of Education (ED) announced that over 323,000 borrowers who have a total and permanent disability (TPD) will receive automatic student loan discharges. The change will apply to borrowers who are identified through an existing data match with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Previously, borrowers were required to fill out an application before receiving relief, but this regulation allows the ED to provide automatic TPD discharges for borrowers who are identified through administrative data matching. Learn more about TPD discharge.
What do I need to do before the student loan relief ends on May 1?
Before payments resume, the Department of Education advises that you:
- Update your contact information with your loan servicer and in your StudentAid.gov profile. Make sure they have the correct info!
- Check out the ED’s Loan Simulator to explore options for repaying your student loans.
- Consider applying for an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan to make your payments more affordable.
I am not financially able to make my student loan payments in 2022. What can I do?
Paying off student debt can be scary and confusing. If you do not feel financially secure enough to make your student loan payments, talk with you loan provider about repayment plan options. Instead of having a traditional repayment plan, you might qualify for an Income-Driven Repayment Plan, like Pay As You Earn Repayment (PAYE); Income-Based Repayment (IBR); and Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plans.
An important note: Before switching from a traditional repayment plan to an income-driven repayment plan, make sure that you understand how making lower payments might affect your loan interest and the length of time that you will need to make payments. It can be helpful to speak with a certified financial counselor or coach before selecting a student loan repayment plan.
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The Financial Resilience Center was developed by National Disability Institute with generous funding from the Wells Fargo Foundation.