Local financial expert offers tips for preparing to resume student loan payments

A Waco-area banker offers tips to keep in mind after student loans paused for sixth time.
Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 6:24 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - It’s been two years since borrowers have had to pay on their student loans, and while that pause was extended four more months, a financial expert said it’s time to think about preparing for payments again.

Travis Kemp, senior vice president and chief credit officer at TFNB, said if you have the ability, you should set aside some money now for those payments later.

Kemp said while the payments are paused, interest is not accruing, and there is no impact to not making a payment. However, Kemp said by putting away money now, you’ll have some savings for when those payments do begin.

Kemp said that’s important to have because missed payments can impact your credit score immediately, and that can harm you in the long run.

“When the time comes for you to borrow, whether to buy a car, or if you’re ready to buy a house, or if you want to go back to school, your credit score being lower will lead to a higher interest rate generally,” Kemp said.

The student loan repayment pause only affects people who already have student loans, but now is also the time for some high school seniors and their families to think about how they’re paying for college

The McLennan County College Achievement Program helps families apply to, plan for and access resources to pay for college.

While loans are a hot topic now, the program helps students look at other options.

Program advisor Mike Kaufmann said that includes talking with students about starting at community colleges before transferring to four year schools, or helping them find scholarships. Kaufmann said many students are not aware of how many there are available.

He adds while students want to go to college, they may not realize what they’re getting into with a student loan, and that’s what the program tries to help with.

“We try to translate it to so they can understand, you know, what you’re getting yourself into when you actually sign for those student loans,” Kaufmann said. “And then of course, you know, walk them through what are the alternatives? What how can they make this cheaper?”

For now, the program is only available to students in McLennan and Navarro counties.

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