San Diego

Federal student loans: Payments and interests set to resume

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The classroom seems fully engaged. About 20 students from San Marcos Elementary School are closely paying attention to Mr. Eytchison in what is barely the second week of the new school year.

“The same approaches that you took last year and the year before, you may not be able to take them with this class," he said describing the first few days as a nice mix of excitement, energy and uncertainty. “So every year it’s kind of like a new job, so to speak. We get to know each other, we have to build that community first, and that trust, and that support.”

Tyler Eytchison will renew his payments on his student loan

But in the back of Mr. Eytchison's mind, there is another uncertainty that’s come to define his federal student loan.

“It’s been a roller coaster, I know that we’ve had really high highs and really low lows,” he said, referring to student loan borrowers. They went through a pandemic pause, the possibility of debt forgiveness, lots of political and legal wrangling, and the Supreme Court ultimately striking down forgiveness back in June.

It's been a roller coaster

Tyler Eytchison describing his student loan

“We want the same American Dream our parents had, our grandparents had, we’re not trying to have it easy ... but the difference back then is the cost [of an education] is now astronomical,” he said.

“Borrowers need to stay up to date with everything that’s going on,” said Celina Damian, Student Loan Servicing Ombudsperson with the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI).

She advises borrowers to start looking at their loans as soon as possible because millions were transferred to new servicers.

“What our concern there is, that sometimes during transfer, there are mistakes of balances, account histories don’t transfer,” she said.

Here’s what to look out for:

  • Interest renews after Sept. 1
  • First payment is due after Oct. 1
  • Confirm your balance and payments
  • Check and update your automatic payment setup

There are also government programs that could help you reduce your bill. One of them is the Saving on Valuable Education (SAVE) Repayment Plan which expanded its household and income guidelines to accommodate more people.

Look out for scams that:

  • Use aggressive advertising language
  • Makes promises that are too good to be true
  • Has typos and bad grammar
  • Asks for log-in information

Also remember that you don’t need to pay anyone to help you manage your student loan as the U.S. The Department of Education has resources available to help you.

DFPI also has tools, resources and information to help student borrowers with any type of loan.

As for Mr. Eytchison, the pandemic pause helped him catch up with other bills. He adds that as upsetting as it was to not have his loan forgiven, he could at least make a plan to pay off his loan in the next 10 to 15 years.

“It’s just a thing that you budget and then hope that every year that you get a raise, you’re like, OK, that money is going into my student loan payment,” he said.

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