EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — After more than three years, federal student loan payments are starting again. For some, this means big monthly bills on already tight budgets.
After a pause due to COVID, borrowers will now have to have to dig a little deeper into their pockets and begin making payments as soon as Monday.
“It would be like $295 to $300 a month,” said recent college graduate Chanel Masody.
Masody recently graduated from college in Massachusetts. Now, she and millions of people across the country are starting payments on their student loans after a pause due to the pandemic.
“This is like my first time dealing with student loans since I don’t have any older siblings or anything, so I’m kind of just like figuring it out as I go,” Masody explained.
Masody and many others say it’s been stressful starting to manage the payments along with other bills and expenses.
“I’ve been mostly focusing on just getting into the workforce, trying to build up an income, keep my credit card debt down and that’s not been easy. Knowing that within a couple weeks, I’m gonna have to throw another monthly payment on top of what I’m already doing, I really don’t feel like I’m 100% ready to take that on,” 2019 college graduate Jerome Hannon said.
Experts say there are options on how you choose to pay back your loans.
Experts say there’s a 12-month grace period stating that if you miss a payment, it won’t impact your credit score.
However, they recommend you try to budget and make paying back your loans a priority because it could impact you in the long run.
“It can impact your credit score if you miss payments which will impact your ability to borrow for a car, a house, rent, you name it,” said Ameriprise Financial Inspire Confidence Group certified financial planner Will Amesbury.
Amesbury says if the bill is too big for your budget, there are several income-driven repayment plans you can choose from that could lower your monthly payments.
“The good news is that you don’t have to make that decision immediately, and if you do make that decision it’s not locked in for good. You can call your loan servicer and have that changed as your circumstances change,” Amesbury explained.
Amesbury says when it comes to choosing a plan, it’s important to remember what’s best for your financial situation.
“Just because your sibling, coworker, whomever you speak to is doing something that may be right for them, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s right for you. Talk to a financial advisor, talk to whomever you trust to walk you through what’s best for your situation,” Amesbury added.
More information on student loan repayment options can be found online.