Student loan payments loom as COVID relief expires September 1

After three years, the U.S. Department of Education's COVID relief is ending September 1st, which means many students will soon be on the hook again to start paying back their student loans.

Christian Burgos has student loans but hasn't had to pay the bills. When the pandemic hit, the federal government put a pause on payments. But now that the U.S. Department of Education's Covid Relief is ending, reality is settling in.

"And the way the economy is going right now," Burgos said, "there are things that are inflating, and minimum wage isn’t even increasing with it to combat it."

On September 1st, Interest on student loans resumes. October 1st is when everyone in forbearance, or those who requested a loan deferment, will have to start paying Uncle Sam back. But there is a new program, Save Repayment, which can help make the monthly burden on borrowers a little lighter, especially as they face rising home prices, interest rates, and cost of living expenses.

"The fact of the matter is, young professionals are making more money than they ever have in history," said Bryan M. Kuderna, financial advisor and author of Millennial Millionaire. "So,I think they need to embrace that and say alright I have enough ammunition to kind of take on some of these challenges."

It's a tight labor market, and there are well-paying jobs available, plus gig economy positions to pick up a side hustle for a couple extra hundred bucks a month. So don't panic.

"Honestly, it’s just expensive to live," said one Hunter College student. "So, thinking about student loans when I get emails every day from Sally Mae, who's my distributor, who sucks, sorry Sally. I don't really stress about it other than the fact that I have to pay it back regardless."