This post was originally published on Defender Network

By Laura Onyeneho

For the last two years federal student loan payments have been on hold. Expect to resume your payments in September.

The U.S. Department of Education has extended repayments multiple times to give borrowers enough time manage their finances after the devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The payment pauses have allowed borrowers breathing room to save, invest or apply the money to other basic necessities.

The September start time could still impact millions of Americans because of inflation and with November midterms coming, the likelihood of Democrats adding another bill wouldn’t be in the best interest of the American people at this time.

U.S Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona reassured student loan borrowers that they will have “ample notice” regarding payments. Regardless of what happens, it is important to plan ahead and be prepared.

Revisit options student loan forgiveness options

The Biden Administration proposed regulations that would help student loan borrowers cancel their debt. Reforms include:

  • Total and permanent disability
  • Student loan interests
  • Public service loan forgiveness
  • Borrower defense to repayment

Cardona said, “If a borrower qualifies for student loan relief, it shouldn’t take mountains of paperwork or a law enforcement to obtain it. For example, the borrower defense to repayment option is for those whose school have misled them. The proposed regulations will protect them and save them money, headache, and time by holding their colleges responsible for wrongdoings.”

Who is your loan servicer?

Did you know Navient, Granite State, and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency severed ties with the Education Department? Nearly 16 million borrowers will be answering to a different company by the time payments begin. Contact your services to get ahead of all upcoming information and changes.

Stack your coins

As painful as it sounds, borrowers should be saving their money as if payments already began. Even if you don’t have to total amount you would pay, automate a small percentage of your earnings in a high-yielding account

Take advantage of income-driven repayment programs

If you struggled to make regular payments to your debt, apply for the income-driven repayment program. You can cap your monthly bill at a percentage of your discretionary income. If your income is low enough, your payments could be as low as $0 per month.