COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — After calls from Democrats, the Biden administration has announced another extension to the student loan payment pause.
The freeze on federal student loan payments began at the start of the pandemic in 2020. For two years, millions of current or former students, like Joshua Moore, have been excused from paying up.
“I think for some people, the moratorium is fantastic,” said Moore. “If you’re a really high earner, and you can pay off your student debt, this is a great time.”
But for Moore, that’s not the case.
“I now owe more than I do on my home,” said Moore.
Moore owes more than $100,000 in loans and interest. He welcomed the pause in payments, initially, but for him, and many other borrowers who live paycheck to paycheck, it’s a temporary solution.
“Just extending it, just kicks the can down the street, and not very far,” said Moore.
The federal government extended the freeze again, this time, until at least August.
In just a few months, borrowers like Moore will have to pick up where they left off on payments.
“Now is the best time to start thinking about and planning for your financial future. Do not wait,” said Bruce McClary with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. He said if you can, make a payment — or two — before August 31.
“Borrowers can continue making payments during this period of time and can benefit from the interest-free period, in reducing the principal balance of their overall student loan debt,” McClary said.
But focus first on what’s most important.
“If you are in a situation of financial distress, and you need to focus on other debt that’s falling behind, it’s certainly advisable to go ahead and take advantage of this period of time that allows you to skip student loan payments,” said McClary.
And look at the big picture.
“It’s important to think about your entire financial picture, not just your student loans,” McClary said. “So, if you’re going to be going back to a full payment schedule, you need to fit that into your budget, you need to know what impact that’s going to have.”
If you’d like some additional information on how to budget before payments resume, or to connect with a student loan or budget counselor, visit nfcc.org.