NAICU Washington Update

New Student Aid Data Released

January 07, 2022

The Office of Federal Student Aid released updated federal student aid data to reflect the end of the last federal fiscal quarter of 2021, which is September 30. These updated reports reflect the flexibilities applied to borrower accounts as prescribed in the CARES Act and extended by executive actions through May 1, 2022. 

Highlights from the updated reports include:
  • Federal Student Loan Portfolio – The outstanding federal student loan portfolio is $1.61 trillion, representing 43.4 million unduplicated student aid recipients; 
  • Student Loan Repayment Status – Less than 500,000 Direct Loan borrowers were in repayment status compared to 18.1 million recipients in March 2020. This decline is due to the flexibilities recreated in the CARES Act that allow students to pause their payments on their student loans; 
  • Direct Loan Defaults – No new direct loan borrowers entered default during this period due to federal student loan borrowers being put in forbearance;
  • Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) – 8.7 million borrowers are enrolled in IDR plans;
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – Application data for 2020-2021 decreased 1% and the preliminary disbursement data for loans and grants were down about 6% compared to the September 2020 preliminary data from 2019-2020 award year;
  • Borrower Defense to Repayment – Approximately 116,000 applications had received an approval or preliminary approval, up from around 95,000 applications in June 2021, and the processed discharge amount has grown to more than $1.2 billon; and
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) – More than 1.3 million borrowers have had their employment eligibility certified and have received a qualifying payment count so they can keep track of their progress toward PSLF. But only about 10,800 borrowers received PSLF discharges through September 2021, totaling $1 billion. This does not include borrowers who are able to benefit from the limited PSLF waiver. 

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