Extension of student loan pause expected to help thousands of Tennesseans

Posted at 9:11 PM, Apr 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-05 23:14:56-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — President Joe Biden's administration is expected to announce a freeze on federal student loan payments will now continue until the end of August.

Payments have been frozen since March of 2020 and were set to resume on May 1. A formal announcement is expected on Wednesday.

It's a development that will impact millions of Americans with student debt, including recent Middle Tennessee State University graduate, Alex Irwin. Due to the freeze, he hasn't had to pay his student loans since he graduated in 2020. He said it has helped him financially.

"I feel like I am able to do a little more because I don’t have to worry about an extra $500 to $1,000 a month, or even more," said Irwin. "I do feel very lucky, and I am very appreciative."

The action applies to more than 43 million Americans who owe a combined $1.6 trillion in student debt held by the federal government, and Tennesseans owe about $30 billion in student debt.

Borrowers will not be asked to make payments until after Aug. 31, and interest rates are expected to remain at 0% during that period. The move will mark the sixth extension since the pause took effect in March 2020.

While recent graduates may be thankful for the extension, some financial experts still recommend borrowers try and make a payment each month.

"If you need to take advantage of the non-payment, that’s available," said Mary Jo Lambert-Terry, a Managing Partner at Yrefy. "If you have a little extra capital each month it would be great to pay down the principal balance and cut years, and months off of your student loan payments when they do go back into repayment."

Lambert-Terry also recommended visiting to find out how much you owe, and make sure your personal information is updated.