NAICU Washington Update

FSA Data Show No Change in Number of Student Loan Recipients, Increase in Loan Balances

September 29, 2022

The Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) released an update on the student loan portfolio. As of June 30, 2022, approximately 43 million student loan borrowers owe about $1.62 trillion in outstanding loans. This represents an increase of $26 billion in the outstanding loan balance since last year, and no change in the number of student loan recipients.
The Department of Education now directly manages 93% of the total federal loan portfolio.  The remaining seven percent includes school-held Perkins Loans, lender-held FFELP loans, and the FFELP loans held by guaranty agencies.
As a result of the COVID-19 flexibilities for federal student loans, the number of recipients in repayment status has fallen sharply over the last two years. More than 25 million Direct Loan borrowers are in forbearance status and over 99% of these balances are in the special CARES Act forbearance that allows borrowers to not make payments on their student loans, which has been extended until December 31, 2022. Only about 430,000 recipients have opted out of the payment pause and thus were in an active repayment status as of June 30, 2022, compared to 18.1 million recipients in March 2020, shortly after the CARES Act became law.
Despite the repayment pause affecting most borrowers, enrollment in income-driven repayment (IDR) plans has slightly increased during the COVID-19 emergency. According to the Department, as of June 2022, almost 8.4 million Direct Loan recipients were enrolled in IDR plans and no new Direct Loan borrowers entered default during the past two years.

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