Now that the Supreme Court has blocked President Biden’s student debt cancellation proposal, people with loan balances have two things to watch in the short term.
First, the pandemic-related pause on monthly payments will end by Sept. 1, with the first payment due sometime in October. But the Biden administration has said it will provide a yearlong “on-ramp” to help ease the transition for borrowers who may struggle with making their payments — if a borrower misses a monthly bill, they won’t be considered delinquent from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2024.
Then, there is an even bigger source of relief: The Education Department has finalized its plan for a new loan repayment plan that could cut many borrowers’ monthly bills by half — and enrollment will be possible later this summer, before any payments are due.
On Friday afternoon, the White House announced a separate effort to provide loan cancellation using the so-called “settlement and compromise” authority it has under the Higher Education Act. This effort will take months at a minimum and its success could be subject to legal or other challenges. Its scope and the number of people who could benefit is not yet clear.
The Biden administration’s repayment plan — called SAVE — would revise the existing income-driven plan known as REPAYE. The Education Department released its initial proposal in January, and the final rule appears to hew closely to the original plan: Payments for undergraduates borrowers, for example, will amount to 5 percent of their discretionary income, down from 10 percent in the existing REPAYE plan, and 15 percent in other plans. (You can find our guide on the initial proposal here).
Taken together, these two actions are expected to go a long way in helping distressed borrowers make the transition back into repayment.