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Although federal student loan payments won’t be due until October, interest will continue collecting on your debt again on Sept. 1, the Education Department says.
The accrual of interest has been suspended on most federal student loans since March 2020.
There will be some variation in due dates among borrowers, depending on their account details, including their payment schedule before the Covid pandemic.
Recent graduates, meanwhile, may get even more time if they’re still in their grace period, Kantrowitz said. Grace periods usually span six months from graduation.
What’s more, the Education Department has said it will institute a 12-month “on ramp” to repayment, which will run from this Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2024.
During that period, borrowers will be shielded from the worst consequences of missed payments.
For example, loans will not go into default and delinquencies will not be reported to credit reporting agencies, Kantrowitz said. Late fees won’t be charged, either.
“The 12-month on-ramp is similar to a forbearance in many ways,” Kantrowitz said.
But as is the case with a forbearance, interest will continue accruing on your debt while you don’t make payments. As a result, Kantrowitz recommends borrowers start repaying their bills, if they can.
“Doing otherwise will eventually hurt them,” he said.
Still, consumer advocates say this leeway is essential.
“Borrowers are not ready to resume payments,” said Persis Yu, deputy executive director at the Student Borrower Protection Center, in a recent interview with CNBC. “Even if the risk from the virus has diminished, the financial fallout has not.”