May 24, 2021
As the Department of Education (ED) prepares to transition millions of student loan borrowers back into repayment when the federal forbearance period comes to an end in the fall, several Democratic senators are asking the department’s leadership how it plans to do so smoothly.
In a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and three other Senate Democrats called on the department to detail its plan to resume monthly payments for more than 40 million borrowers in October and whether it plans to extend the existing federal contracts with student loan servicers.
“During the pandemic, borrowers have reported confusion about how pandemic assistance provisions apply to them, suggesting that proactive steps prior to the end of the payment pause are needed to prevent them from falling through the cracks,” Warren, along with Sens. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), wrote to Cardona last week.
The letter adds “little is publicly known about how loan servicers have supported borrowers during the pandemic or how they are preparing for payments to resume.”
Specifically, the lawmakers are requesting answers regarding what steps ED is taking to ensure loan servicers are conducting the required proactive outreach to prepare borrowers to resume making payments and how ED is measuring any such outreach.