40 million Americans prepare to pay off student debt

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) — After nearly two years of suspension of federal student loan payments, many believe May 1 will officially be the time repayments begin again. That means 40 million Americans will pay off their student debt after the pandemic halts payments and interest.

Jana Davidowski, assistant director of financial aid at UW-Stevens Point, said whether you’re new to payments or just starting over, now is the best time to start planning.

Davidowski is also developing a plan for his own loans.

“Every time the deadline approaches, I start thinking about what my monthly payment will be and try to figure out a budget, and then it gets postponed again,” said Davidowski.

Davidowski said the uncertainty of changing deadlines made it difficult for students to plan. She recommended checking out the loan calculator on studentaid.gov first.

Lending services expect people to change their plans as the situation evolves, Davidowski said.

“You’re not locked into that payment plan that you decided on when you graduated from college,” said Davidowski.

If you have student loans, you should already be getting reminder emails and they’ll let you know 21 days before the first payment. Davidowski says to make sure your address and email are updated on studentaid.gov to get these reminders. Davidowski said not to ignore those emails. If you feel stuck, contact a counselor instead.

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Tana T. Thorsen