If you have student loans (and a heck of a lot of people do) there is a lot to stay on top of, particularly if you are a federal student loan borrower on an income-driven repayment plan.
On an income-driven repayment plan (and you can read more about them here) after 20 0r 25 years — or 10 years if you work in public service — your federal student loan balance gets forgiven.
Here is the thing, if you are on an income-driven repayment plan you have to recertify your personal information every single year.
If you fail to do this every single year it could have consequences like increased payments, a bigger loan balance, and even default.
Still, per the Department of Education, a lot of people don’t do this on time. Consider this our gentle reminder: It is so, so important to watch for recertification requirements, and to opt-in.
A few tips to absolutely make sure you do this:
1. Keep An Eye Out For Recertification Requirements
Whoever is servicing your loans has to inform you of the recertification deadline, and they must do this at least twice. They can do this either via email, letter, or phone call. After the warnings though, the changes can go into effect entirely on their own. And, if you have your student loans on automatic payment, you might miss a change.
2. Check Your Account Every Few Months
Set calendar alerts for every few months so you don’t miss any of these changes, that way it will never fall through the cracks. If you don’t know your yearly deadline you can find it at the National Student Loan Data System.
3. Do It A Few Weeks Before The Deadline
Consequences for not doing this start 10 days after you fail to do recertification. On top of that, recertification can take two weeks to process, and you might need to provide additional documentation like pay stubs. In other words, make sure to do it before the last day of the deadline.
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