- Federal Student Aid’s 2022 annual report says resuming student loan payments this year will be a “huge undertaking.”
- He cited the unprecedented nature of Biden’s broad debt relief and payment pause extensions.
- The agency said it would improve customer service, but borrowers continue to struggle with their loan officers.
President Joe Biden’s Education Department is gearing up for a chaotic year for the student loan industry.
The Federal Office for Student Aid (FSA) recently released its annual report for the 2022 financial year, which looked at whether it had achieved a series of goals it set itself during the year. elapsed regarding communications with student loan borrowers, student loan business performance, and financial aid disbursement, among others.
Along with analyzing what happened in 2022, the report also looked at what’s to come in 2023 and what changes the industry is likely to experience. In the section on the FSA’s management outlook, she said her goal for this year will be to “raise the standard of excellent customer service by modernizing loan servicing infrastructure, improving repayment outcomes of borrowers, implementing incentives to reduce defaults and delivering on the promise to improve opportunities for students and families to make informed decisions about financial aid for college and student loan repayment.”
But he also noted the changes that came from Biden’s announcement in August to forgive up to $20,000 in student debt for federal borrowers earning less than $125,000 a year. Due to two Tory-backed lawsuits that have blocked the relief from being implemented – the cases will be heard in the Supreme Court on February 28 – the Department for Education has extended the student loan payment break 60 days after June 30, or 60 days after the dispute is resolved, whichever comes first.
Regardless of the outcome of the cases, the department has maintained that payments will resume again this year, and the report says “the return to reimbursement will be a huge undertaking for the FSA”.
“The FSA has launched communication campaigns to inform borrowers about the process of restarting payments, provide resources and incentives to minimize the risk of default and delinquency, and educate the borrower on repayment options,” the statement said. report.
“The FSA’s loan servicing partners are integral to the success of the future return to repayment plan, but the world of federal student loan servicing is changing rapidly,” he continued. “Collaborating with repairers in developing detailed outreach strategies will support a successful end to the administrative forbearance period.”
Communicating with student loan companies is a recurring problem for many borrowers. Insider previously reported hours of multi-hour detentions some borrowers encountered when trying to get help from MOHELA, a firm currently involved in one of the lawsuits to block Biden’s broad debt relief.
The FSA report noted that due to multiple extensions of the student loan payment pause over the past year and temporary reforms to targeted relief programs, student loan companies have not met their customer service goals. To prepare for 2023, the FSA said it would “take positive steps to prepare loan servicers for the expected increase in incoming calls based on the impact of debt relief and return to repayment “.
Yet borrowers remain frustrated with the difficulty they’ve had getting answers to simple questions from their service agent – especially with the uncertainty surrounding when they’ll resume payments this year, and whether they’ll see a reduction of up to $20,000 in their loan balances.
“My fear, regardless of the outcome of the case, is that the White House is so desperate to restart payments and get back to normal that it has forgotten that ‘normal’ is a debt sentence of decades. anyway, that’s an excuse to say they did everything they could,” one borrower told Insider recently.