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Student loan counselors recommend making a plan while payments are still on hold

Posted at 7:06 AM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 10:06:40-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — President Biden's $1.9 Trillion relief package sent checks to households across the United States. The goal is to help people pay down debts brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the bill also provides future hopes for those struggling with a specific type of debt.

"The country's student loan debt was well over $1 Trillion dollars before any of us knew what the Coronavirus was," said Student Loan Hero certified student loan counselor, Andrew Pentis.

The Biden administration is now looking beyond the pandemic. The new relief package could help people with student loans. It clarifies that any student debt forgiveness granted between December 31, 2020 and January 1, 2026 would not be counted as income, and therefore, would not be taxed.

"If the Biden administration or Congress decides to forgive, say, $10,000 of student loan debt, that would be significant help to millions of borrowers overnight," said Pentis.

As a certified student loan counselor, Pentis, helps borrowers in Tucson. According to Student Loan Hero, Arizona has the 12th highest student loan debt average in the U.S at $34,712.

"In Pima County, that average is about the same. It's a little under $35,000. It equates to a monthly payment of $265," said Pentis.

Borrowers are excused from their student loan payments until the end of September 2021. With no guarantee of help after, Pentis recommends making a plan.

"Definitely do not wait until we get closer to the Fall to make a plan on how you will resume those monthly payments. Where is the light at the end of the tunnel? How can you eventually end your debt? Come up with that strategy," said Pentis.