Oct 4, 2023 - News

What Illinois student loan borrowers should know as payments resume

Outstanding student loan debt in Illinois
Data: U.S. Department of Education; Table: Axios Visuals

This month, more than a million borrowers statewide will have to start coughing up student loan payments for the first time since 2020.

Why it matters: The three-year pause on payments gave more than 40 million U.S. borrowers a reprieve during the pandemic. But now they'll have to factor payments into monthly budgets.

State of play: About 1.6 million people in Illinois owed a total of $63.1 billion in federal student loan debt as of June 30, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

  • Illinois borrowers owe an average of $38,198 in student debt, above the $37,338 average owed nationwide.

Catch up fast: President Biden's student loan forgiveness plan, which would have relieved up to $20,000 in federal debt per borrower, was struck down by the Supreme Court in June.

  • In July, Biden sought a new route, announcing that certain borrowers who have been paying for decades — including about 28,450 in Illinois — were approved to have that debt forgiven.

Zoom in: People in their mid-20s to mid-30s make up the largest share of Illinois residents with federal student loan debt, according to Education Department data.

  • Yes, but: Those ages 35 to 49 owed more money.

Be smart: Late payments won't be reported to credit bureaus nor hurt borrowers' credit scores through Sept. 30, 2024.

Plus: Borrowers can sign up for a new income-driven repayment plan, the SAVE plan, which the White House estimates will save the typical borrower about $1,000 per year.


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