After two years of pauses, the emergency relief from student-loan payments ends on August 31, 2022.

There are several things you can do to make sure you’re prepared when payments resume:

Here are three steps to make sure you’re prepared for student loan payments to resume:

1. Update your contact info.

Make sure your contact information is up to date in your profile on your loan servicer’s website and in your profile. Wrong contact information could make you miss important updates.

2. Get info about your next payment.

Once the payment pause ends, your loan servicer(s) will send you a billing statement or other notice. This notice will include your:

  • payment due date,
  • upcoming interest, and
  • payment amount.

Your payment will be due no sooner than 21 days after your servicer sends the billing statement.

3. Make sure you’re on the best repayment plan for you.

Your situation may have changed during the COVID-19 emergency. Now is a great time to think about whether you’re on the best repayment plan for you.

Even if you change your repayment plan now, you can always change your plan again later.

The U.S. Department of Education offers a variety of repayment plans. For example, an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan is based on how much money you make. Under an IDR plan, payments may be as low as $0 per month.

4. Take action if you want to lower your monthly payment.

After understanding all your repayment options, you may choose to apply for a specific plan. Or you can ask to be placed on the plan that results in the lowest monthly payment amount.

Are you already on an IDR plan, but your income changed recently? You can update (recertify) your info to see if you can get a new, lower payment amount. Recertify by following these steps.

5. As a last resort, contact your loan servicer to ask for short-term relief.

If you can’t find a repayment plan that works for you right now, you can request to temporarily pause or lower your payments through short-term relief (deferment or forbearance). Before you make a request, use Loan Simulator to learn how this short-term relief affects your loans and loan payments. Then contact your loan servicer to request a deferment or forbearance.

Remember, a normal deferment or forbearance is different from the COVID-19 emergency payment pause. Interest can still accrue (add up) during deferment or forbearance. Deferment and forbearance also affect loan forgiveness options, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness or IDR plan forgiveness.

6. Understand what happens if you don’t repay your loan.

If you miss a payment, your loan becomes delinquent.

If your loan is delinquent for 90 days or more, your loan servicer will report the delinquency to the three major national credit bureaus. Delinquency will affect your credit score, making it harder to get credit.

For more information, read the Department of Education’s article, 6 Ways to Prepare for Student Loan Repayment to Begin Again.