(CBS) - A pandemic-era freeze on federal student loan payments had been set to expire on May 1st, but the White House is planning to extend the freeze through August. More than 36-million people have not had to pay their loans since March 2020, totaling about $195 billion. The Student Debt Crisis Center and Savi surveyed more than 23,000 borrowers and found 92% of those now fully employed are concerned about making their loan payments.
Cody Hounanian, executive director of the Student Crisis Center, says, "One third of those borrowers told us that in preparation of payments resuming in May, they are skipping out on basic needs like food, rent and healthcare."
Advocates have been pushing for an extension, and many are calling for loan forgiveness. "I think we can all agree, no matter what side of the aisle you're on, that the student loan system is broken,” says Hounanian.
Experts say borrowers should use this time to plan ahead and have a strategy for when the bills start coming.
StudentAid.gov suggests you:
- Update your contact information
- Sign up for auto pay
- Research repayment plans
- Consider income-driven repayment
"While it's a very strong labor market, some people maybe are not be making as much money. Maybe there's an income-driven payment in your future," says CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger.
Financial experts also suggest students limit borrowing to the amount of their anticipated first year salary. And for parents, your household income is what you can borrow, in total, for all of your children.