Financial Empowerment Center offers help to student loan borrowers

*NOTE: This is a stock photo.
*NOTE: This is a stock photo.(Pixabay)
Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 10:19 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As student loan borrowers see their payments resume this month after a three-year pause, the Louisville Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) is offering to help manage the burden.

Earlier this year, FEC financial counselors were trained by the nonprofit Student Borrower Protection Center in how to manage student loan repayments, and now they are ready to pass that knowledge on to their clients.

“We spent a lot of time learning how to prepare clients for what’s about to happen,” financial counselor DeShawn Manning said. “We talked about what those changes were and then how to incorporate those payments back into their budgets.”

The COVID-19 student loan pause is ending this month but Manning said there are many different options for borrowers to manage their repayments, including payment plans that are based on income and household size.

The Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan is the newest income-driven repayment plan, and it provides the lowest monthly payments of any plan available to nearly all student borrowers. Under the plan, any unpaid interest will be paid by the government, as long as the borrower is making payments.

“These plans all generally all work the same way,” Manning said. “Based on your household size and your income, they will give you a reduced monthly payment.”

Because student loans may change hands many times, some borrowers may not even be sure which institution currently holds their loan. If you have an outstanding student loan, you can check its status and see how much you owe at here.

“Some borrowers may feel discouraged or nervous about repayment,” FEC Local Government Manager Ce Garrison said. “Prior to the resume date, research who your current lender is and your new due date for payment. Check to ensure the lender has accurate personal and contact information in case they need to reach you. If you’re eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, make sure your lender has updated information about your months of service. That will save you time and effort later on.”

After checking the website, Louisville student loan borrowers can make a free, one-on-one appointment with the Financial Empowerment Center by accessing its online appointment portal or by calling (502) 585-4622, ext. 6.

“We’ll be glad to sit down with you and help you figure out how to work your loan into your budget, and help you get it paid off,” Manning said.

The Louisville Financial Empowerment Center began last year and makes Louisville part of a national network of cities who believe that trusted, free, financial counseling services should be an essential city service.

The FEC is a partnership between Louisville Metro Government’s Office of Resilience & Community Services and the Louisville Urban League. FEC counselors are located within the Louisville Urban League’s Center for Housing and Financial Empowerment.