QUINCY (WGEM) -- If you've been taking advantage of the long grace period on your student loans due to COVID-19, that will end at the end of the year.
Local financial aid advisors said start preparing now to either start making payments again or create a plan with your loan provider.
Officials at Quincy University said if you have had any financial hardships due to COVID-19, you will need to contact your loan provider to set up a new payment plan or forbearance period before the next statement comes in the mail on January 1, 2021.
That's important because if you don't make any plans or payments, it can have an impact on your future financial decisions.
"Students who are recently out of college, may think, 'eh, I am not going to make that payment for a couple of months and not do anything.' Then down the road they will need to buy a car or a home and all of a sudden their credit looks worse than what it otherwise would have been because they decided not to pay those bills, " Tom Oliver, VP for Enrollment Management at Quincy University said.
He also said the federal government was taking in payments with no interest during this nine month grace period.
But that will change starting in the new year, as interest will start getting added again.
Oliver said if you make a few payments during the zero interest period, it can really help in the long run.
"Most families are going to see hundreds of dollars in savings over the life of the loan," Oliver said. "It was a great thing to happen. It happened just in time with everything going on in our country. But business is getting back to a more normalized setting and so families need to be prepared to start making payments again."
According to Forbes, there are 45 million borrowers who collectively owe nearly $1.6 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S.
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