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When Should You Start Paying Back Student Loans?

In March 2020, around the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the executive office put a pause on federal student loans. Both the previous and current presidential administrations have continued to extend this, even as COVID cases decline. If you haven’t been paying back student loans, you may be wondering if it’s okay to continue to not make your monthly payment and when you should start back up. We’re answering all your questions about the student loan moratorium to help you better plan your financial future.

Understanding the Student Loan Pause

Due to the quarantines and shutdowns triggered by COVID-19, millions of people were either temporarily or permanently out of a job. The economy took a nosedive, and student loan payments were among the first things to go unpaid. To minimize damage, Congress passed a bill that included a student loan pause among other relief measures, and then, President Trump signed an executive order extending the pause. When President Biden took office, he continued to extend the moratorium; his most recent extension was signed on April 6, 2022 to allow people to not have to pay student loans until August 31, 2022.

During this time, students are not required to make payments on their Direct subsidized and Direct unsubsidized student loans. Other benefits include:

  • Eliminating delinquency and placing borrowers back in good standing when it’s time to start paying back student loans.
  • Stopped collections on loans in default.
  • Blocking interest accrual, so your loan balance won’t go up.
  • Extension of loan relief to people defrauded by for-profit universities.
  • No need to re-certify income-driven repayment during the moratorium.

Why Was the Student Loan Moratorium Extended?

While cases of COVID continue to decline and the economy continues to improve, the current administration, according to Education Secretary, Miguel Cardona, wants to provide a “smooth transition back to repayment…This additional extension will allow borrowers to gain more financial security as the economy continues to improve and the nation continues to recover…”1.

Are All Student Loans Paused?

Under the student loan moratorium, only Direct federal student loans (both subsidized and unsubsidized) are eligible for relief and interest-free forbearance. If you have FFELP Loans or Perkins Loans, these are ineligible, as are private loans from lenders such as SoFi or Navient. It’s important to speak with your loan servicer if you have questions about your private student loan.

Paying Back Student Loans

At the end of the student loan moratorium, there are questions related to when do you have to pay back student loans? Will there be another extension? Many people are curious as to whether the current administration will cancel student loans flat out.

As of right now, student loan bills will go out on or after September 1, 2022 and you will have to pay back unsubsidized loans as well as subsidized loans.

Student Loan Assistance and Aid

If you are concerned about paying back student loans following the student loan pause, there are relief and assistance programs available through the U.S. Department of Education.

Income-Driven Student Loan Repayment

Be sure to file for income-driven, or income-based student loan repayment when your loans are closer to being due. This program looks at your disposable income, family size, and other information and determines how much you are able to put toward the monthly payment. Payments can be as low as $0 and you will still remain in good standing as long as you re-certify annually.

In order to be eligible for certain student loan forgiveness programs, you must also certify for income-driven student loan repayment.

Student Loan Forgiveness

If you work in government, for a nonprofit, or for a public-service-based job, you may be eligible for public service loan forgiveness2. This is a program in which you make 120 monthly qualifying payments on federal loans using income-driven repayment while working full-time at a government (federal, state, or local), tribal, or nonprofit institution or organization. There are also teacher loan forgiveness and healthcare worker loan forgiveness programs you may be eligible for.

Schedule a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Options with Student Loan Lawyer Today

Iif you would like to learn more about solutions for student loan debt or are considering filing for bankruptcy to help you get out of other forms of debt, we can help. Schedule a free consultation with a student loan lawyer today by calling (954) 932-7804 or filling out the form below to get started.


  1. U.S. Department of Education:
  2. Federal Student Aid:

Written By:

Attorney Robert Stiberman

Robert is an experienced bankruptcy attorney adept at handling Chapter 7, 13, and 11 filings, with more than 15 years of experience in bankruptcy cases. Robert represents clients in both consumer and business bankruptcy ... Read More

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