Payment Pause and Debt Relief

For the most up-to-date information about student loan debt relief, visit, including Frequently Asked Questions.

Due to the economic challenges created by the pandemic, the federal government has extended the student loan repayment pause a number of times during which time no one with a federally held loan has had to make loan payments or accrue interest. To ensure a smooth transition to repayment and prevent unnecessary defaults, the federal government has announced a final extension through December 31, 2022, with payments resuming in January 2023. During this time, payments are automatically paused, interest free, with no opt-in request needed.

As the end of the pause approaches, student loan borrowers should plan accordingly and work with their student loan servicer regarding eligibility for debt relief and/or plans to begin making student loan payments again in January 2023. It is important to plan accordingly and make required payments so you can avoid student loan delinquency and default.

Targeted Student Loan Debt Relief to Low- and Middle-Income Families

To smooth the transition back to repayment and help borrowers at highest risk of delinquencies or default once payments resume, the U.S. Department of Education has announced it will provide up to $20,000 in debt cancellation to Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the Department of Education and up to $10,000 in debt cancellation to non-Pell Grant recipients. Borrowers with income less than $125,000 (or $250,000 for households) may qualify. Note: The U.S. Department of Education has clarified on its website that it has data on all borrowers who received a Pell Grant. It states that if you received a Pell Grant prior to 1994, that information won't display in, but you'll still receive the full benefit.

In addition, borrowers who are employed by non-profits, the military, or federal, state, Tribal, or local government may be eligible to have all of their student loans forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) programThis is because of time-limited changes that waive certain eligibility criteria in the PSLF program. These temporary changes expire on October 31, 2022. For more information about eligibility and requirements, go to .

Note: You may be able to get a refund for loan payments made during the payment pause (beginning March 13, 2020) if you successfully apply for and receive debt relief and your voluntary payments brought your balance below the maximum debt relief you're eligible to receive but did not pay off your loan in full. More information available at

Identifying Your Loan Servicer

A loan servicer is a company that is contracted with the federal government to handle the billing and other services on federal student loans held by the U.S. Department of Education. You can find out who your loan servicer is on your account dashboard by logging into or calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243. You can also see a list of contracted federal loan servicers and their contact information on the Federal Student Aid website.

If you borrowed a Perkins Loan (which is not held by the U.S. Department of Education), the school from which you borrowed the loan is your loan servicer. If you borrowed the Perkins Loan at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, visit the Office of Student Accounts website for more information.

A Fresh Start for Federal Student Loan Borrowers in Default 

On April 6, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced an initiative—called “Fresh Start”—to help eligible borrowers in default. Fresh Start will continue through one year after the COVID-19 payment pause ends. If your loans are eligible, you’ll temporarily regain several student aid and credit reporting benefits. You’ll also get the opportunity to get out of default and keep those benefits for the long term. For more information about this program and how to qualify visit

Visit the Federal Student Aid COVID-19 Emergency Relief page for more information about student loan repayment, student debt relief, and any other details and frequently asked questions.