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Repaying student loans: should the pause continue?

money AP
Posted at 4:35 AM, Jan 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-28 08:25:51-05

The payment freeze on student loans ends May 1, 2022, but Persis Yu with the watchdog group Student Borrower Protection Center says there may be a reason to continue the pause for a non-COVID reason.

"Two of the largest student loan servicers have left the program," she says.

Yu is concerned about servicer readiness to handle the influx of repayments for the millions of loans that had to be transferred.

However, there are some borrowers who won't have to worry about paying back their loans.

If you have a loan serviced by Navient, there's a chance your balance was canceled.

Navient reached a $1.7 billion settlement over deceptive practice allegations. It means 66,000 borrowers' balances will be canceled.

If you don't have one of those loans, the government has set limited ways to have your loans forgiven.

"For folks who have permanent and total disabilities for example, or who went to schools who defrauded them," Yu says.

There's also forgiveness for some public service jobs, like teaching.

Check to see if you qualify for government loan forgiveness.

Yu talked about student loans as part of an ABC15/Let Joe Know Facebook Live.

One area of concern involves borrowers having trouble repaying their loans.

Yu says there are longer-term payment plans available if you check with your servicer.

If you are looking to refinance, she warns you need to check out exactly what you're getting into.

If you do go with a private lender, Yu says you may lose some of the protections you'd have with a government loan.

And you shouldn't have to pay a fee to refinance.

"Some of the scams we see are companies that promise to refinance their loans into the direct loan program for a thousand dollars," Yu says.

Check out the Student Borrower Protection Center site to learn about your rights as a borrower.