Pause on federal student loan payments to expire May 1

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — If you’re one of the millions of Americans who has been deferring your federal student loan payments during the pandemic, you may have to start repaying again soon. President Joe Biden’s third extension of the pause on student loan repayments expires on May 1.

Federal student loan payments have been paused, interest waived, for two years now as part of pandemic relief. Each time President Biden has extended the pause, students and former students with big debt have been able to breathe a bit easier.

“I feel like postponing those loans is a good decision because a lot of students are unemployed, and still trying to navigate their financial situation,” Taylor, a student at MCC told News10NBC.

Back in December when the pause was extended to May 1 of 2022, many students said while they’re grateful, they still want more.

“It’s kind of pushing it off which I mean is cool, but if we’re going to base our campaign off of a really big part of it being canceled student debt loans, then let’s try to cancel it instead of moving it back five months,” said Josiah, a student at Nazareth College.

While Sen. Maj. Leader Chuck Schumer and others in his party have been pushing President Biden for months to cancel $50,000 per student in loan debt, the President is more likely considering a $10,000 cancellation but until it’s written in stone, students need to start planning to pay back.

“Next to your mortgage payment or your rent payment, it’s probably the biggest payment that you have or debt outstanding for most households,” explains Mary Jo Lambert-Terry, a managing partner at Yfery.

A recent survey by the student debt crisis center found that 89% of borrowers are not prepared to begin making payments again. So, what should you do right now to ensure you don’t fall behind right away?

Lambert-Terry suggests all federal borrowers start by going to

“It’s a secure website, you have to log in and basically what it’s going to tell you is…. who your loan servicer is, what the balance of your loan is and approximately how much your monthly payment is going to be,” Lambert-Terry said.

Once you have that information, based on your situation—you should call the servicer directly.

“There are many, many federal programs that the loan servicers are going to want to set you up with in order to make sure that you’re successful. So, there’s not one income-driven repayment program, there’s four. If you feel like you need to refinance your loan there’s federal consolidation. If you’re unfortunately still unemployed, there’s deferments available each of these things do not cost you anything,” Lambert-Terry explained.

And, if President Biden extends the pause again or cancels a set amount of student debt, you’ll still be able to capitalize on that. If he doesn’t, make sure your account is not set up for auto-debit until you know exactly what your monthly payment will be.