CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – The bill pile this month includes student loans again. You may be dreading the due date on the payment.

Federal student loan payments were frozen in 2020, and interest rates on outstanding loans were set at 0%. Now, borrowers are making payments again.

Chris Mediate, with Mediate Financial in Canfield, acknowledges borrowers have had prime conditions for three years. Now, conditions are tougher with inflation, and even higher interest rates on things like credit car bills and car loans,

“This is something that you do not want to default on,” Mediate said. “If you’re struggling, don’t miss the payment. Work with your student loan servicer. Make sure you’re figuring out the right payment. You want to be proactive and get ahead of this before it gets ahead of you.”

The government is automatically reducing the consequences of a missed payment for the next year. It won’t be reported to credit agencies. Mediate says if your payment is too high, call your student loan servicer and ask about a repayment option geared to being income sensitive.

“If we’re struggling, then they’re gonna make a payment relative to how much you earn. And that can be a big break,” Mediate said.

Mediate believes making the payments will be tough for some borrowers, but if they’re willing to work at it, they can find some ways to save money.

“Are we overdoing subscriptions? Are we overdoing our cell bills? I mean, these are little wins that sometimes we can make these little cuts that are going to help us be able to now be able to afford some of these payments. So, start little. Give yourself wins, but you got to make adjustments,” Mediate said.

And what about a discount? That’s available if you sign up for auto-pay. Double-check with your loan servicer to make sure you’re signed up for the automatic payments.

There are several programs for borrowers and for Parent Plus Loan borrowers, too.