Jul 12, 2023 - News

Georgians owe $71 billion in student loans

Average federal student loans per borrower, by location
Data: Federal Student Aid; Map: Simran Parwani/Axios

The Supreme Court's ruling that President Joe Biden's student debt relief plan is unconstitutional has axed loan forgiveness for nearly 1.7 million Georgians.

Why it matters: Federal student loan payments are due in October for the first time since the pandemic began, and millions of Americans will likely struggle to make them, Axios' Caitlin Owens reports.

Catch up quick: Biden's program would've canceled up to $10,000 for individual borrowers making under $125,000 per year, and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients.

By the numbers: Georgia has the nation's eighth-highest number of borrowers (about 16% of the state's population) and sixth-highest overall debt balance ($71 billion), per March Federal Student Aid data.

  • That's an average balance of about $42,000 per borrower.
  • Over 642,000 Georgians were approved for forgiveness in the short time an application was available last year, the White House announced in January.

Be smart: For most borrowers, auto-debit payments won't restart automatically in October. That means you'll need to opt in again to ensure your first payment is on time.

  • Further complicating matters, many loans' servicers have changed since 2020 — so you may need to log into a new website to set up payments.
  • Visit studentaid.gov to confirm your servicer and update your contact information.

Of note: Interest starts accruing again on Sept. 1, and rates will be the same as pre-pandemic.

  • For one year, borrowers who miss payments won't be reported to credit bureaus, placed in default, or referred to collection agencies.

What we're watching: The White House finalized a new student-loan proposal within hours of last Friday's Supreme Court decision, and Biden pledged there will still be more to come.

Read how student debt is affecting Georgians

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