Earlier this month, President Biden extended the pause on federal student loan repayments. It was set to expire May 1st.
Now, it’s extended through Aug. 31.
While Americans may have more time to make payments, it also opens up opportunities for scammers to strike. In Oklahoma, borrowers have racked up more than $15 billion dollars in student loan debt.
No one has had to pay on their federal loans since March of 2020. Now, you might be getting calls or letters asking for information associated with your student loans. But, are they truly looking to update your information or drain your bank account?
Mary Jo Terry is a managing partner at Y-REFY, a company that refinances student loans. She offered a few pieces of advice:
- Reach out to your loan provider and make sure that your contact information is up to date.
- Make sure you know what your monthly payment is and how much you owe.
“The biggest thing you need to do is take action, go to https://studentaid.gov/, update your profile. It’s completely log in/password protected, you’re good to go that’s going to be the number one thing,” said Terry.
Terry says if someone calls and wants to charge money to help you get financial aid, or to get loans forgiven, don’t fall for it.
“Remember, it’s free to fill out FAFSA. All of these things are free and you have a lot of resources available at your fingertips, such as your financial aid office, such as your student loan servicer, and any number of other resources that can help you through this process without actually having to pay,” said Terry.
If you accidentally give your information away, make sure to put a fraud alert on your accounts.
The U.S. Department of Education says borrowers can expect to receive a billing statement 21 days before the payment is due. If you were previously set up with automatic payments, you’ll need to re-enroll.
If you can no longer afford your monthly payments, you may be eligible for an income-driven repayment plan.
©2022 Cox Media Group