Attorney General Josh Stein: Explaining recent changes to student loan debt
Posted at 12:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 15, 2022
By Josh Stein
North Carolina Attorney General
When people take out student loans, they’re investing in their future — and their success makes all of our communities stronger. That’s why I work hard to protect student borrowers and have sued loan servicers and for-profit colleges when they illegally took advantage of student borrowers. In total, my office has won nearly $300 million in student debt relief for over 37,000 North Carolina borrowers since 2017. This work continues, but at the same time, the student debt landscape is rapidly changing. and it can be difficult to keep on top. Below are important deadlines and information that I hope will help you get your student debt under control.
The federal government has announced some important changes to reimbursement and student aid programs. The government will waive up to $10,000 for most student borrowers and up to $20,000 for most Pell Grant recipients. An application for this relief will open in early October at studentaid.gov. The federal government has also announced changes to reimbursement based on income plans, which offer some borrowers a lower monthly payment. In addition, the administration is extending the suspension of federal student loan repayment one last time, until December 31, 2022. To ensure that you receive the benefits to which you are entitled, visit studentaid.gov to ensure your contact information is up to date, contact the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) (www.ed.gov), or contact your student loan officer.
For those working in the public service, there have been important developments. Earlier this year, the federal government announced changes to address shortcomings in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF), which provides loan forgiveness to public service workers. The changes allow millions of other student borrowers who work as public servants to receive loan forgiveness credit for past loan repayments, even if those payments did not comply with the PLSF rules in effect at the time. era. To qualify for this limited waiver, you must apply by October 31, 2022. Be sure to apply before Halloween.
These changes will make a huge difference to the financial future of thousands of borrowers. To find out if you are eligible for the PSLF, go to studentaid.gov before the deadline next month.
But these changes also provide an opportunity for scammers to capitalize on people’s excitement and confusion to steal their money. Do not forget :
- If an unknown caller or email sender asks for your personal information, including your Federal Student Aid ID, do not respond. Your loan servicer and the DOE will not ask you for personal information over the phone or by email.
- Be patient. Anyone who promises instant debt relief is a scammer. The DOE will need time to implement the new programs and provide relief to borrowers. No company can help you speed up the process. You can subscribe to DOE updates at ed.gov/subscriptions.
- Never pay upfront fees to debt relief companies for help with your student loan debt. Under North Carolina law, it is illegal for debt relief companies to charge upfront fees to modify debts.
- Contact your loan officer directly for any questions. Your loan officer can help you access eligible programs, such as debt relief or repayment options. Be sure to ask if you qualify for PSLF or income-contingent reimbursement.
Investing in your education is one of the most important steps you can take for your future, but it can come with significant financial costs. With all the changes to student loans in recent weeks, please act now to get the relief you are entitled to. And if you think you’ve been the victim of a student loan scam, contact the Consumer Protection Division of our office at https://ncdoj.gov/complaint or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.