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For Borrowers: How to Survive Student Loan Repayment in 2023

Posted 7/28/2023

Your first monthly student loan payment is due in October 2023. Follow this step-by-step guide to get ready and learn what to do if you can’t afford your payment. Don’t wait! Thirty-million borrowers will enter repayment at the same time. Delaying will make it extremely hard to get help.

Step 1: Get Access to Your Student Loan Data

Start by taking charge of your loans. Completing these three steps will unlock answers to your most basic student loan questions:

  1. Register for an account on – is the hub for all your student loan data and tools. It will give you access to your loan data, the ability to compare repayment options with Loan Simulator, and direction on how to change repayment plans on your own. If you’ve never set up a account, follow these instructions. If you have an account, log in to ensure it’s active.
  2. Identify your loan servicer – Your servicer handles the billing for your loan and provides support throughout repayment. Forty percent of borrowers have a different loan servicer than they did at the start of the payment pause. You can find your current servicer on your account dashboard.
  3. Register for an account on your federal loan servicer’s website – Your servicer’s site is where you’ll make payments or request help. Once you know who your loan servicer is, sign up for an account on their site. The steps for this will vary depending on the site, so follow the instructions they provide.

Don’t skip any of these steps! and your loan servicer’s website work best in tandem. An account on unlocks tools that aren’t available through your loan servicer’s website, but your servicer’s may have more up-to-date loan information.

Step 2: Answer the Basic Questions

Once you have access to and your loan servicer’s website, answer the following questions:

  • What do you owe in total?
  • What is your monthly payment?
  • When is your next payment due?

As of July 2023, the most accurate answers to these questions are likely on your loan servicer’s website. If you cannot get access to your servicer’s website, try calling them. You can also check the dashboard of your account.

Step 3: Keep Yourself in the Loop

President Biden and the Department of Education have announced new actions to provide debt relief and support for student loan borrowers. The most immediate impact to borrowers is a new income-driven repayment (IDR) plan called SAVE. IDR plans use your income and family size to determine your monthly payment amount. The new plan has the lowest monthly payments available and includes other benefits that may go into effect July 2024.

The Secretary of Education is also searching for an alternative path to student loan debt relief. We won’t know the results of that process until later this year.

As part of preparing for repayment, plan to stay on top of news regarding student loans. Sign up for informational emails from Federal Student Aid (FSA) by following these instructions.

Step 4: Prepare to Start Making Payments

To make the start of repayment easier, you should take these steps:

  • Set a reminder – October will either be your first student loan payment, or your first in over three years. Set a calendar reminder to make sure you don’t forget to pay your bill.
  • Set up automatic payments – Better than setting a reminder, consider setting up automatic payments with your loan servicer. You’ll receive a 0.25% interest rate reduction on Direct Loans as an added bonus.
  • Build a buffer – For the next few months, set aside an amount equal to your expected monthly loan payment. This will build savings to draw on when unexpected expenses pop up.
  • Start making payments now – If you can afford to do so, consider starting payments now. You’ll be paying down your balance which means lower fees when interest begins accruing in September.

What if I Can’t Afford My Monthly Payments?

Don’t panic. You’re not alone. Millions of student loan borrowers will struggle as repayment begins. The good news is FSA provides many repayment options for borrowers facing financial hardship. Depending on your income, monthly payments can be reduced to zero dollars.

Start by signing up for an account at and your loan servicer’s website. This will provide you with the information and tools you need to move forward.

Once your accounts are set up, follow these steps:

  1. Write out your problem – What’s causing your financial hardship? Do you expect the problem to be solved within six months, or is it a long-term issue? What is your approximate yearly income? Having answers to these questions will help you explain your problem to other people and identify which repayment plans are the best fit.
  2. Compare repayment plans with Loan Simulator The Loan Simulator on is an excellent tool you can use to explore your repayment options. Best of all, if you have an account on, it will automatically plug in your student loan data. Be sure to add your income data to see if you’re eligible for any IDR plans. You can view details, weigh your options and learn how to apply for the plan that works for you.
  3. Contact your loan servicer directly – If you need more help deciding which plan is right for you, reach out to your loan servicer. Be aware that hold times may be longer than usual as millions of borrowers prepare for repayment.
  4. Contact Student Connections – We work on behalf of schools to provide federal student loan repayment counseling. We can be reached at (866) 311-9450, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET.

The best thing you can do is to take action now! The closer we get to October; the more borrowers will flood support networks making it harder to find help. Be patient and persistent.

How Can I Avoid Student Loan Debt Relief Scams?

FSA continues to warn borrowers about student loan scams. With so many recent efforts to create new programs that provide debt relief, even savvy borrowers might find it hard to tell the difference between a scam and legitimate forgiveness and relief efforts. Here are key things to remember:

  • You never have to pay to apply for or receive student loan relief from FSA.
  • No one should ever ask for your account username or password.
  • Official emails from FSA come from, or
  • If you are unsure if an offer is legitimate, contact your loan servicer to verify.

You can report scam attempts to the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-382-4357 or visit