Student Loan Payments Resume in October: Are You Ready?

September 29, 2023
Photo via Adobe Student loan repayments re-start in October.

Yes, it’s time. If you have a student loan, your payment plan is about to resume. Are you ready?

In 2020, the federal government paused student loan payments and set interest to zero percent in response to the COVID-19 emergency which shut down workplaces across the country – some briefly and some for months – and made it impossible for some to earn an income. Three years later, on May 11, 2023, the emergency was officially ended by the Biden Administration and Congress passed a law preventing further extensions of the payment pause in June, according to the Office of the Attorney General. As a result, student loan interest resumed September 1 and payments are now coming due in October. 

Yes, we know this is a politically fraught topic, but it impacts tens of thousands of Waukesha County residents, no matter how we all feel about it. And in addition to everyone who had their student loan paused for three years, there is a new crop of student loan borrowers who left school or graduated since March 2020 and they are all gearing up for their first ever student loan payments. Welcome to adulting.

Wisconsin’s 727,000 student loan borrowers who are holding more than $23 billion in debt were supposed to receive notifications from the U.S. Department of Education and loan servicers were supposed to notify borrowers with billing statements at least 21 days prior to their first payments coming due. If you owe student loans and did not receive such notifications, it’s time to investigate to ensure you are not going to miss a payment.

Because a large number of borrowers have moved around over the past three years, and may not have updated their information with lenders, the federal government recommends the following steps: 

  • Ensure you can log on to the U.S. Department of Education’s website at and that your contact information is up to date. 
  • Ensure you can log into your loan servicer’s website and that your contact information is up to date on this site as well so you receive your statements and can make payments. Confirm your payment amount and date it is due. 
Is there any relief in sight?

The 300,000 student loan borrowers in the state who thought they would be eligible for up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness had their hopes dashed on June 30, 2023, when the Supreme Court found that the Biden Administration lacked authorization under the HEROES Act to conduct such a forgiveness program. However, there are still some limited opportunities to obtain loan forgiveness. 

Those with decades-old student loans may be able to have them discharged or reduced via one of several options provided by The Federal Student aid office of the U.S. Department of Education including: 

  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness for those who are employed by government or non-profits after they have made the equivalent of 120 monthly payments (10 years) while working full time for an eligible employer. This program is also available for teachers, military and medical professionals who meet specific criteria. Individuals with disabilities and those whose schools have closed or that misled them may also be eligible for forgiveness programs. 
  • Income Driven Repayment (IDR) Plans, targeted to lower income borrowers, are designed to better align loan payments with the borrowers’ ability to pay. There are several different programs, including the SAVE, PAYE, IBR and ICR plans. Most of them require payments of 10 percent of your discretionary income if you meet the requirements. The SAVE plan was revised by the Biden Administration after the Supreme Court decision to have more favorable terms, but those terms will not go into effect until July 2024. 
  • Fresh Start Program for those who had a student loan in default before March 13, 2020.

If you have been paying student loans for 10 or 20 years and are struggling to afford your loan payments, the options above are worth looking into to determine if you are eligible. 

If you are among the thousands who have repaid your student loans, congratulations! This is one bill you don’t have to worry about. Whew!