LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For the first time since 2020, student loans are accruing interest. This comes as the U.S. Department of Education’s COVID-19 payment pause ends. Borrowers with first time payments question what they owe and how they are going to pay it.

What You Need To Know

  • Interest accrued beginning Sept. 1 for student loans 

  •  Loan payments are due in October for the first time since 2020

  •  Many borrowers making are making payments for the first time

  • The Biden administration introduced the SAVE plan to help borrowers make payments based on their income

The pandemic, pauses and legal proceedings have left student borrowers confused.

“I feel like when I log into my portal or I try to get more information, there’s a lot of different answers and a lot of different information coming from different places,” said Samantha Delph, student loan borrower. 

Delph graduated in 2021, and this is her first time having to make a payment.

“Understanding what my payment amounts are or even going to be every month. Because right now, when I log into my portal, it shows me two different amounts. So even just preparing for that piece of it, I think is the part that’s a little intimidating right now,” she said. 

Over the last couple of weeks, she said she’s been preparing to give back what she owes.

“I’m on a repayment plan based on my income, so making sure that all of my information is up to date on my portal, my current income, our current household status, just trying to prepare,” she said. 

Her repayment plan sets her monthly payment amount to be affordable based on her income. Even with that plan, she said it’s going to be a long time before she pays it off.

“So it’s weird knowing that I’ll be paying off my student loans longer than I’m going to be paying off my mortgage on my house,” she said. 

It’s the feeling of unpreparedness that makes her concerned, but she remains positive it will all work out.

“Hopeful. Yes, hopeful. And trying to be optimistic about it and knowing that, you know, once it kind of gets started getting into a routine of it, it will be easier,” she said. 

Payments are due in October. The U.S. Department of Education said borrowers will receive a bill 21 days before it’s due.

If borrowers can’t make payments by October, the new save plan introduced by the Biden administration could lower payments. To get payments to zero, you must be a single borrower making less than $15 an hour.

There are other forgiveness options for people who work in the public service or for those who can’t pay because of a disability. Visit the federal student aid website for more information.