Student loan payments were on pause for more than three years, and then Congress restarted them. Now, two months after repayments began, Americans are beginning to see the effects and the consequences. 

In October 2023, the first month of the restart, 22 million borrowers had a payment due. Of that total, 60%, or 13.2 million, made a payment, according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Education in December, with 4 million making a payment for the first time. Meanwhile, 40% or 8.8 million borrowers did not pay.

In a blog post on the Department’s website, Undersecretary of Education James Kvaal said these numbers exclude people whose repayment restarted in the fall but did not have a payment due in October. It is unclear how many Black people were among those who had a payment due and missed it.

However, previous research shows 57% of Black borrowers have at least $25,000 in student loan debt. And in the past, nearly a quarter reported being behind on their payments, according to the Education Data Initiative.

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