Managing Student Loan Debt During COVID-19
- January 21, 2021
- By: Greenpath Financial Wellness
Jan 2021: Updated with news of the extension of student loan payment pause. Borrowers will not have to make payments until October 1, 2021 at the earliest, extending the already unprecedented pause on payments by eight months.
As a recent college grad, it’s possible you face unexpected challenges related to the ongoing pandemic. But we’re here to remind you that it’s a time to celebrate!
An important chapter in your lives has come to a successful conclusion. You completed your education and are ready to start your career path, or perhaps you will continue post-graduate studies in your area of discipline.
Managing Your Student Loan Debt in a Time of COVID
Along with the celebration, it’s also a time to understand what it takes when managing student loan debt through a challenging time.
It’s a reality that student loan debt will impact recent graduates. In fact, student loans currently account for over $1.56 Trillion of total consumer debt in the U.S—second only to home mortgages.
The other new reality is keeping track of regulations offering relief.
View Our Webinar: Understanding Student Loan Options
Check out our webinar on all things student debt. Whether you currently carry student loan debt or plan on taking out a student loan in the future, see how to make informed decisions for your financial future.
CARES Act and Student Debt
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress in March 2020.
With the new Biden Administration, the most recent extension suspends requirements to pay principal and interest on federally held student loans through October 1, 2021.
If no other action is taken, 42 million borrowers will have to resume their payments at that time.
Note that the student loan relief provisions are limited to government-held student loans only, leaving out commercially held federal loans, Perkins loans, and private loans
The regulation suspends federal student loan payments, reduces interest rates on federal student loans to 0%, and pauses federal student loan debt collection on defaulted student loans.
For those with government-held loans, the relief options offered through the end of September 2021 give you a “breather” that many find useful.
But what’ happens after the relief programs end?
Understand the Full Picture
Once temporary relief programs end, managing student loan debt is doable with the right information. When you understand repayment options — standard plans, extended plans, income-based plans and other payment options – you feel more in control.
To manage confusion that comes with changing regulations, student loan counseling from impartial and expert guidance has never been more important.
To take advantage of the best student loan payment plan for your specific situation, it’s helpful to get guidance from counselors who can review the makeup of your specific student loans and help you understand repayment plans.
As a recent article in HerMoney notes, there are specific steps to take for people struggling to pay student loans.
Student loan counselors can suggest ways to manage an individual situation if you are feeling overwhelmed when relief programs end.
Start a Conversation about Managing Student Loan Debt
You’ve completed an important milestone — congratulations are in order!
As you take your next steps, remember there are resources available when managing student loan debt.
A good place to start is with a free consultation from someone who has your interests at heart
Our NFCC-certified counselors help you begin a conversation about where you are today, and what you need to accomplish your goals.
We guide you to assess your financial situation related to student loans as well as your full financial picture and help create an action plan to move forward.