DULUTH, MN– 45 Million Americans are in the process of paying off mountains of student loan debt.
But financial experts say the COVID-19 pandemic provides many with a unique opportunity.
According to the Institute of College Access and Success, Americans have compiled $1.6 trillion in student debt.
But many who have college loans recently got some good news when the CARES Act was signed in March.
Those with federal student loans would be granted forbearance.
“There is no interest rate and there are also no payments required. So if you have the means, the option is available to catch up, make manual payments and reduce the capital on your loans,” said Matthew Santo, a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Santo used student loans to get himself through the entirety of his college career.
Experts are saying people like Santo can really benefit from this.
April Sanderson, a financial councilor at LSS Counseling Services in Duluth, said using this unprecedented time to chip away at student loans is huge.
“This is going to be potentially life changing. Instead of it being a forbearance that accrues interest, it doesn’t accrue interest. So nothing will be capitalized at the end,” Sanderson said.
Sanderson’s advice for those not struggling with student debt is to save money.
“Life happens and we always know life happens at the worst time so having savings is that insurance for when life happens,” Sanderson said.
For Santo, his focus is on putting a dent in his student loans and is still glad he put time in school.
“I think it was worth it. I debated about getting an education and continuing my masters so it hasn’t scared me off entirely,” Santo added.
As of now the forbearance will last until September 30.