DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Interest will begin accruing once again on federal student loans Friday, September 1st, 2023. While payments will not be due until October, experts say now is the time to get organized.

Eric Turner graduated from Howard University and went on to get his Masters at the University of Dayton. He is now a defense contractor at the Air Force Research Lab at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Like millions of Americans, he is about to start making his federal student loan payments for the first time in more than three years.

“I’ve had a combination of private and federal loans, and with the current relief that’s happened over the last three years for COVID, I was able to focus more on the private student loans while I kind of let the other one sit while they weren’t collecting interest,” Tuner explained.

Tuner said he is going to start looking at his monthly expenses, and create a new budget with his loan payments factored in.

“Maybe spend this weekend, sit down, look at some Excel sheets, just see what what I need to spend less on in terms of cost of living, and how I can apply more to my student loans and making sure that as much of the principal is going down,” Turner said.

Kim Jenerette, the Executive Director of Financial Aid at Cedarville University, said the first thing people should do is check in with their loan servicer. Millions of loans changed servicers during the pandemic pause.

“They need to know who to repay, because when they go to a school and they borrow these federal loans, they’re going straight through the U.S. Department of Education, the Treasury Department, but they’re going through the financial aid door,” Jenerette said.

There will also be a 12 month grace period, where it will not hurt borrowers if they miss a payment. Jenerette said this is the time where people should work with their servicers to see which repayment plans they qualify for, and which one is right for them.

“Find out who your federal loan servicer is, contact them and work with them. They will work with you because no one wins if a student borrower goes into default; the student loses, the federal government loses, the Treasury Department loses,” Jenerette explained.

Turner still has around $25,000 in student loans to pay off. His biggest advice to borrowers? Do your research.

“Pay attention to interest rates and borrow responsibly. I know that can mean a lot of different things, but just really be honest with yourself, as far as people considering loans as an option and just budget accordingly,” Jenerette said.

Interest begins accruing on Friday, Sept. 1st, and payments will restart in October. The White House also announced a new savings plan to help save borrowers money. To find out if you qualify and to learn more about the repayment plan options, click here.