TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Millions of Americans are preparing to get back into the habit of making federal student loan payments.
Despite a looming government shutdown, payments will still resume in October.
The clock is running out on student loan forgiveness, and graduates are bracing for a budget crunch.
“During the three year pause I was able to purchase a home,” said Sophia Paul, who earned her MBA degree from Lynn University six years ago. “That helped a lot because that was an extra expense I didn’t have to worry about.
Paul has been thoughtful about her plan to budget the monthly payment into her finances, but now she is voicing deeper concerns about the timing.
“If layoffs happen or if there’s the concern of a looming recession, what will that look like?” she said. “I don’t know if it was the right time for them to take it off pause because our economy is not doing that well right now.”
Some financial advisors agree, including Tiffany Watson, a tax accountant and founder of All Abord Financial in Tampa.
“Is this the best time to be adding on the force of student loan payments? Absolutely not,” she said. “Be prepared. This could be a wrench in your everyday life if you’re not careful.”
Watson said anyone feeling the burden should reach out to their loan servicer to see what repayment options are available based on income and public service.
“They’re going to look at your earned income overall,” Watson said. “Then on public service, you must show and prove that you are actually in that public service. That includes teachers and doctors. There may be some additional information that you have to provide.”
Even though the pause on repaying federal student loans will end Sunday, there’s still a bit of a grace period. Those who don’t make payments won’t be reported to credit or collection agencies for the next year. However, interest will still accrue.