Student Loan Borrowers Potentially At-Risk when Payment Suspension Ends
As a result of the CARES Act and subsequent administrative actions, more than 25 million student loan borrowers have had suspended payments on their federal student loans for more than two years. This suspension is scheduled to end later this year, and it remains uncertain how financially ready student loan borrowers are to resume payments on these debts.
In this report we use data from the CFPB’s Consumer Credit Panel to identify which types of borrowers may struggle to make their scheduled loan payments based on five potential risk factors: pre-pandemic delinquencies on student loans, pre-pandemic payment assistance on student loans, multiple student loan servicers, delinquencies on other credit products since the start of the pandemic, and new third-party collections during the pandemic. The payment suspension’s end will require student loan borrowers to resume making roughly $6 billion per month in aggregate payments. Although some borrowers are likely to resume payments without serious issues, many borrowers may struggle. We find that about 15 million borrowers have at least one of the potential risk factors considered in this report and over 5 million borrowers have at least two. We also find that borrowers with multiple risk factors are more likely to live in low-income or high-minority census tracts.