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SUPREME COURT STUDENT LOAN HEARING: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Betsy Mayotte, President of the Institute of Student Loan Advisors, encourages people not to make any payments until the pause has ended. Instead, she says, put your payment amount into a savings account.

“Then you’ve maintained the habit of making the payment, but earning a little bit of interest as well. There’s no reason to send that money to the student loans until the last minute of the 0% interest rate.”

Mayotte recommends borrowers use the loan-simulator tool at StudentAid.gov or the one on TISLA’s website to find the payment plan that best fits their needs. The calculators tell you what your monthly payment would be under each available plan, as well as your long-term costs.

“I really want to emphasize the long-term,” Mayotte said.

Student loan payments are set to restart in 2023. Here’s how borrowers should prepare.

Regardless of what happens with the Supreme Court, borrowers ought to prepare for payments to restart, said Betsy Mayotte, the president of nonprofit the Institute of Student Loan Advisors. And they should avoid spending as though the debt was already forgiven.

To that end, she suggested borrowers – both those new to payments and those with older loans – set-up an interest-bearing account where they deposit what they expect their monthly payments to be. Mayotte said a little interest can go a long way, but, more importantly, developing the practice of budgeting for student loan payments can help borrowers rebuild or create a new routine.

“Everybody has sort of lost that habit over the last three years,” Mayotte said.

She also said borrowers have the “luxury of time” to enroll now in one of the government’s plans that adjusts monthly payments based on their wages. These income-driven repayment plans can lower a borrowers’ monthly obligations, though they do extend the life of the loan.

Student Loans: 5 Biggest Winners of Biden’s New IDR Plan

The revised plan subtract 225% of the federal poverty guideline from your income, sheltering more of your earnings. That same $75,000 household would see payments based on just $7,500 of discretionary income. On top of that, undergraduate loan payments would be capped at 5% of discretionary income, instead of at least 10% under current plans, shrinking monthly payments for the example household from $250 to about $31.

This is a meaningful change for borrowers who live in expensive areas where housing, food and other costs cut further into discretionary income, explains Betsy Mayotte, president and founder of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors.

Some borrowers may qualify for a student loan interest deduction, despite payment pause

If you owe student loans that haven’t been eligible for the government’s break, including commercially held Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) or any private student loans, you may have made interest payments that can be deducted.

The best way to determine if you have potential interest to claim is to contact your loan servicer, said Betsy Mayotte, president of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors.