Officials at Federal Student Aid (FSA) are imploring the financial aid community to help raise awareness that student loan payments for borrowers are set to resume early next year, after a nearly two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
At the annual FSA Training Conference Tuesday, FSA Chief Operating Officer Richard Cordray said navigating the return to repayment of tens of millions of student loan borrowers is one of the chief concerns facing his office, calling it “the most pressing issue we face right now.”
He discussed the strategy FSA is implementing to let borrowers know that payments are set to resume Feb. 1, 2022, detailing the series of email communications being sent directly to borrowers, the general awareness messaging being performed across various forms of social media, and the outreach with outside groups such as alumni associations, labor unions, professional organizations, and more.
“But FSA cannot do this alone. We need strong partners like you to be effective,” Cordray added. “You do not want to see your cohort default rates spike because borrowers are confused or reluctant to start repaying their loans again, some of them for the first time ever. It is not a positive for any borrower to slip into delinquency and then default, regardless of the reasons. We need all of you to help people get this right.”
Following Cordray’s call to action, FSA officials highlighted resources the office is providing to help borrowers prepare to resume their student loan payments.
David Musser, director of policy innovation and dissemination at FSA, outlined the office’s four-part plan to help borrowers return to a regular repayment pattern, which consists of continuous communications with borrowers, reducing delinquency, meeting customer expectations, and monitoring and oversight of FSA partners.
“FSA’s communication strategy includes you and the financial aid community — we need your help,” Musser said. Specifically, Musser and other FSA officials are calling on financial aid professionals to spread the word that the payment pause is ending Jan. 31, 2022, and borrowers need to be prepared to begin making student loan payments starting in February.
A toolkit included in the resources published by FSA has sample social media posts aid offices can utilize, messaging strategies to help them engage with alumni groups and others affiliated with the institution, and a fact sheet containing key information aid offices should know to pass on to borrowers.
Publication Date: 12/1/2021