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Should you pay your student loan?

by Laura Hendrix - April 13, 2020

Student loans may be deferred. Federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in an administrative forbearance.  You can stop making payments temporarily. Payments can be suspended until Sept. 30, 2020, but you can still make payments if you choose. While federal student loans are part of the CARES Act, private student loans are not.  If you are having trouble paying private student loans, you should contact the loan servicer.  Check your statement or credit report to see who services your private loan.  Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243 to see if you have a federal student loan.

Regarding whether or not someone should still make payments - if you have enough income, it makes sense to make payments.  Continued payments will help pay down the principal of the loan; thereby saving money on interest and paying off the loan at the anticipated date or earlier.  If you are short on funds right now; you may need any money you have for food, gas, rent or mortgage, and other critical expenses.  Additionally, private loans may not be deferred - the borrower should check with their lender to see if deferment is allowed.  It's also important for consumers to remember that the total amount will still be due even though payments can be "skipped" for several months.

Borrowers who would like to pay down student loans and other debt should examine debt repayment options.  Other debts such as credit card payments may have higher interest rates and the consumer would save more money in the long run by paying additional toward those.  Individuals who are working toward loan forgiveness through public service may save more money by continuing on that path.  A great tool to examine debt repayment is the online calculator at  PowerPay is an online debt management calculator from Utah State University Extension Service.  Play around with different types of repayment plans and see which would save the most interest or pay off debt the quickest.