Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, federal student loan payments were paused in 2020. That pause is ending soon, which will impact thousands of Philadelphians. It is important that borrowers make a repayment plan before the first bill arrives. Here is what you need to know:

When are student loan payments restarting?

Federal student loan payments will resume in October 2023. You will get your bill, with your payment amount and due date, at least 21 days before your due date.

I thought President Biden canceled student loans. Why are payments restarting?

President Biden announced the cancellation of $10,000 of debt ($20,000 for anyone who received a Pell Grant) for certain borrowers. Several states sued to block this cancellation and the Supreme Court ruled that the President could not cancel student loan debt that way. The U.S. Department of Education has begun a new process to try to cancel student loans, but that process will not stop student loan payments from restarting.

Are there other ways to get my student loans canceled?

Yes, there are several ways to get your student loans canceled:

  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). If you work full-time for a government or not-for-profit organization, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness. The PSLF Program forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made the equivalent of 120 qualifying monthly payments under an accepted repayment plan. The Department of Education has also adjusted accounts to credit borrowers for months when payments were not made, so you may be closer to cancellation than you think. Learn more about PSLF and determine if you qualify.
  • Other forgiveness programs. There are cancellation programs for teachers, people with disabilities, people on an income-driven repayment program, and others. Learn more about other cancellation options.

I’m not eligible for any type of cancellation. What do I do next?

There are several steps you should take to prepare for repayment.

  • Update your contact information
  • explore affordable repayment plans
  • if you are on an income-driven repayment plan, consider re-certifying early
  • enroll or reenroll in auto-pay
  • find out what your monthly payment will be
  • make your payment

For more details on these steps, visit the U.S. Department of Education.

What do I do if I can’t afford my payments when they restart?

There are multiple options for people who cannot afford their payments when they restart. You may be able to:

  • Apply for an income-driven repayment plan
  • recertify or change your income-driven payment plan
  • get temporary relief

For more details on how to pursue these options, visit the U.S. Department of Education.

How can I get help with my student loans?

The City of Philadelphia has Financial Empowerment Centers with certified financial counselors from Clarifi who can help you navigate your student loans. This service is free for all Philadelphia residents regardless of income.

Contact a Financial Empowerment Center for help with your student loans.