Student Loan Debt Options

Federal Student Loan Debt Relief Application Open

President Biden's Student Debt Program

PROGRAM UPDATE:

November 22, 2022

Court orders are currently blocking the Department of Ed from discharging student loan debt and accepting additional applications for relief. In late November 2022, the Department of Justice requested that the Supreme Court lift the lower court’s injunction against the program. There has not been a decision by the Supreme Court regarding the further implementation of this program.

 

PROGRAM INFORMATION: 

Student loan borrowers can apply for President Biden’s student debt program and receive up to $20,000 in debt cancellation. The application officially opened and anyone with student loan debt is encouraged to apply.

Anyone earning less than $125,000 per year, or less than $250,000 for married couples, will be eligible to for $10,000 in loan relief. Those who received Pell Grants, federal aid for lower-income students, could see up to $20,000 discharged from their student loans.

 

Which Loans Qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness?

Undergraduate loans, graduate loans, and Parent Plus Loans held by the Education Department are all eligible for cancellation. Anyone with these types of loans, who are below the income threshold will qualify for relief.

 

Where to Apply

The application is available online at https://studentaid.gov/debt-relief/application. The application can be filled out on a mobile phone, tablet, or computer. The Education Department announced plans to make a paper version available.

 

What Information is Needed for the Application?

Applicants must submit their social security number, name, date of birth, phone number, email address, and attest to earning less than the income threshold. Applicants will be reviewed by the Education Department’s Federal Student Aid Office and matched with borrowers’ federal records to confirm eligibility.  Anyone who submits false information could be subject to fines or imprisonment.

 

Deadline to Apply

Borrowers have until December 31, 2023, to complete the application. The administration is recommending borrowers apply by November 15, 2022, to have the application processed before the pause in federal student loan payments ends. Federal student loan payments will resume on January 1, 2023.

 

Verification Down the Road

The Education Department estimates that 1-5 million borrowers may be required to submit more information to verify income or eligibility.

 

Federal Student Loan Repayment Pause Extended

The U.S. Department of Education has announced an extension of the pause on federal student loan repayments in wake of Biden’s student loan forgiveness program stall. The extension will alleviate uncertainty for borrowers while the Supreme Court reviews the lower-court orders that are preventing the Department of Ed from implementing the forgiveness program.

Federal student loan payments will resume 60 days after the Department of Edu is permitted to implement the forgiveness program or the litigation is resolved. If the forgiveness program has not been implemented and the litigation has not been resolved by June 30, 2023 – payments will resume 60 days after that.

Prepare for Repayment

Update Your Contact Information & Carefully Read All Correspondence from Your Loan Servicer

  • Federal student loan servicers should contact you about the restart of your loan payments. Be sure to read all correspondents you receive from your loan servicer carefully, so that you can make an informed decision about your payments.
  • If you have not received any messages from your loan servicer, update your contact information so that you receive all important messages regarding your federal student loans.

 

View Your Loans & Understand Your Repayment Plan

  • View and manage your federal loans by logging in to Federal Student Aid. Most students have a mix of federal and private student loans, it’s important to understand what your breakdown is.
  • Students on an income-driven repayment plan (IDR) may need to recertify their annual income before repayment begins. Income-based repayment plans include:
    • Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)
    • Income-Base Repayment (IBR)
    • Pay as Your Earn (PAYE)
    • Revised Pay as You Earn (RPAYE)
  • If you previously had your loan payments set to automatic debit, log into your account, and ensure that function is reset so you don’t miss any payments.

 

Take Time to Budget

  • Creating a monthly budget is crucial in planning for the restart of loan payments. Start building your budget now and track your spending habits to create a realistic budget.
  • Make an appointment with an HCC Financial Coach for help preparing a budget.

 

Federal Load Industry Updates

Delinquent loans

  • All prior periods of delinquency are brought current at the end of the administrative forbearance on May 1, 2021.
  • Private collections agencies ceased 3/13/20-5/1/22, but will restart making collection calls, accepting auto payments, and sending letters and billing statements beginning May 1, 2022. Borrowers can continue their payment arrangement related to their federal student loan by contacting ED’s Default Resolution Group at 1 (800) 621-3115.

Default loans

  • Private collections agencies ceased 3/13/20-5/1/22, but will restart making collection calls, accepting auto payments, and sending letters and billing statements beginning May 1, 2022. Borrowers can continue their payment arrangement related to their federal student loan by contacting ED’s Default Resolution Group at 1 (800) 621-3115.

Servicer transitions

  • Three loan servicers have announced transitions out of federal student loans. These transitions will happen at different speeds throughout 2022.
    • Fed Loan Servicing (PHEAA) will be transferring loans to MOHELA, Aidadvantage, and Nelnet
    • Granite State will be transferring loans to Edfinancial
    • Navient will be transferring loans to Maximus

 

 

Resources to Consider

The U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid offers information on how financial aid works, resources to pay for college, and loan repayment options. Visit, https://studentaid.gov/ to learn more.

 

The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) database is the U.S. Department of Education's central record for student aid. The NSLDS database provides a consolidated and cohesive view of federal student aid loans and grants that can be tracked through their entire lifecycle from aid approval through disbursement and repayment.

 

Take Charge of your Student Loan Debt

3-Steps to Take Charge of your Student Loan Debt

Step 1. Pick the right repayment option at StudentLoans.gov/repay.

Step 2. Consider your repayment options, including enrolling in an income-based repayment plan. You can enroll in an income-based repayment plan at StudentLoans.gov.

Step 3. Confirm if your fulltime (30+ hours) nonprofit or public service employment qualifies for Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. The Employment Certification Form can be found at StudentAid.gov/publicservice.

What else you can do:

  • Certify income and family size each year. This is required to see if you qualify to keep payments low.
  • Certify employment each year. This is the best way to be sure that you are on-track for loan repayment and loan forgiveness.
  • Ask for help from your loan servicer if you need additional support. Contact information for your loan servicer is posted at StudentAid.gov/servicer

 

Resources to Get Informed and Make a Plan

My Federal Student Aid

Borrowers can log in at www.studentAid.gov/login to view their federal student loan information, including loan balances, interest rates and loan servicer contact information.

Repayment Calculator

Borrowers can use Estimator tool at www.StudentAid.gov/repayment-estimator  to compare different monthly payment options based on their loan debt, income and family size. 

Repayment Basics

By visiting www.studentAid.gov/repay, borrowers can learn how to make payments on their loans; find the right repayment plan; figure out what to do if they can’t afford their payments; and see what circumstances might result in a loan being forgiven, canceled or discharged.

HCC Financial Coaches

Many borrowers don’t have a financial action plan in place. HCC Financial Coaches help you get on track by connecting you with resources to create an action plan to budget, monitor spending habits and save money. The coaches are also committed to informing students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members about public service loan forgiveness and affordable, income-based federal student loan repayment options. Feel free to reach out to the coaching team, by email at hcc.fincoach@hccs.edu

 

Beware of Student Loan Scams

As you’re researching repayment and forgiveness options, make sure you’re getting information from trusted sources, like .gov websites or your servicer’s website. The government and your servicer will never charge application or maintenance fees — so if you’re asked to pay, walk away.  

Types of Student Loan Scams

There are a variety of different ways that scammers could take advantage of borrowers. Here is a short list from the Department of Education.

  • Require you to pay up-front or monthly fees for help.
  • Promise immediate and total loan forgiveness or cancellation. 
  • Ask for your FSA ID. 
  • Ask you to sign and submit a third-party authorization form or a power of attorney. 
  • Claim that their offer is limited and encourage you to act immediately. 
  • Communications contain spelling and grammatical errors. 


Resources

  • If you receive a letter in the mail, an email, or a phone call from a student loan debt relief company who does any of things listed above, please contact your student loan servicer to confirm the validity of their services. Contact information for your loan servicer is posted at www.StudentAid.gov/servicer
  • The Department of Education also has a comprehensive resource to help you understand which companies and claims are legitimate. Please visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/avoiding-loan-scams for more information.

 

Contact Financial Coaches

Central College

 

Coleman College

 

Northeast College Campuses (Northline and Northeast)

 

Northwest College Campuses (Alief, Spring Branch and Katy)

 

Stafford and Missouri City Campuses

 

Southeast College

 

West Loop

 

Resources