Experts share tips for those struggling with student loan payments

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Moratoriums established amid the COVID-19 pandemic were meant to offset costs for Americans struggling to make ends meet. Now, months later, bills continue to stack while freezes on paying them pick back up.

We share advise on paying back student loans.

Many Americans are struggling to pay down college debt. In fact, Illinois ranks in the top 10 states for student loan debt.

“They’re sixth out of 51 states student loan debt,” said Student loan expert Michael Kitchen. “You have a lot of famous schools there. Generally though because of the cost of living.”

The student loan moratorium enacted last spring is set to expire at the end of January. Michael Kitchen, a student loan expert, says there are 1.7 million student loan borrowers in Illinois totaling $64 billion.

“It’s definitely something that people in Illinois, and everywhere in the country, who have student loans probably want to be thinking about and preparing for the end of that moratorium,” Kitchen said.

Kitchen says if you have loans, now is time to come up with a plan.

“If you find yourself nearing the end of the student loan moratorium, you’re going to have to start repaying again and you don’t feel like you can handle those payments, just remember if it’s federal student loans you can always get on an income-driven repayment,” he explained.

He suggests talking with your servicer.

“They can put you on a program that the amount you pay each month is determined by the amount you make,” Kitchen added.

He says there could be an extension, but he’s not sure how far it could be pushed back.

“It’s really up in the air if there would be student loan forgiveness,” Kitchen said. “[A] spokesperson for President-Elect Joe Biden has said that they will definitely be extending it from the current ending.”

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