Loan

New data shows that federal student loan borrowers face payment resumption confusion

New survey data from Embold Research, sponsored by SoFi, shows federal student loan borrower confusion and misconceptions about resumed payments.

Understand your current federal student loan repayment status

In October 2023, federal student loan borrowers received their first bill in nearly three and a half years, after the moratorium on student loans ended. Throughout the payment moratorium, important dialogues and updates were made to policy related to student loans, including various loan forgiveness initiatives, new income-based repayment plans, and forgiveness extensions.

To get a deeper understanding of the current landscape for student loan borrowers after their bills resume, Embold Research conducted a study, sponsored by SoFi, that surveyed 1,006 federal student loan borrowers nationwide from February 29 to March 11, 2024. The research was completed by Biden administration Proposal A new set of rules aimed at providing student loan debt relief for certain groups of borrowers is due on April 16, 2024.

Key insights from the survey showed:

• Nearly 40% of federal student loan borrowers have not resumed repayment since the end of the moratorium in October 2023. Borrowers reported a variety of challenges to repayment including: financial pressures, confusion about government policy (particularly around widespread loan forgiveness Broad), needing to adjust their budgets, and feeling anxious or stressed.

• Nearly half of borrowers reported that they changed their repayment plans due to public rhetoric about loan forgiveness.

• A majority of borrowers believe the federal government has not been effective in communicating the end of the moratorium and their repayment options.

• This belief is particularly evident among borrowers without a bachelor’s degree and those from low-income households. These borrowers are unlikely to feel they understand the details associated with their loans, and are unlikely to be aware of alternative repayment programs, such as income-driven repayment (IDR) plans, intended to help low-income families.

What does the data tell us?

First of all, borrowers face numerous challenges in repaying their loans, with some not making a payment at all.

More importantly, the data shows that the public rhetoric surrounding student loans and the guidance and communication borrowers receive leaves them confused and impacts their payment paths. This adds to the already burdensome burden of student debt, leaving some borrowers without the information they need to make informed decisions or taking no action to repay the debt.

Find the way forward

Without clearer guidance, borrowers could miss out on repayment programs that could help them effectively navigate loan repayments, such as income-driven repayment plans, refinancing options and more. Failure to manage these payments effectively can have long-term ramifications, affecting credit scores, financial stability, and future ability to borrow for other important life purchases like a home or car.

At SoFi, we know that many of our members face these same challenges. SoFi’s mission is to help our members get their money right, and that includes educating borrowers on the key details associated with student loans.

If you have questions about federal student loans or repayment options, visit SoFi’s Student Loan Debt Guide for more information or SoFi members can work with a certified financial planner at no additional cost.

For more details about the survey, visit



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