The CARES Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, includes a broad range of provisions designed to help Americans whose everyday lives were dramatically altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other measures, the Act provides relief for federal student loan borrowers, placing those accounts into administrative forbearance through September 30, 2020. So should you save that extra money that normally goes towards your monthly loan payments, or should you continue to pay down your student loans? The answer depends on your circumstances.

If you’re not working right now, then taking advantage of temporary forbearance is the way to go. Consider looking into Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans, if you haven’t already. IDR plans are sustainable repayment plans that are based on your income. Depending on your financial situation, you may be able to continue paying nothing—or a greatly reduced rate—when the administrative forbearance period ends.

If you are fortunate enough to still have your job, and you and your family are not hurting financially, it is wise to keep paying down your student loans, even during the forbearance period. Since interest is not accruing during this time, the extra money that you apply to your student loans will go directly towards the principal balance, potentially taking years off your repayment term. To see how the extra payments would affect your overall student loan balance, login to IonTuition account, and see how much money you would potentially save.

Contact an ION concierge counselor today to optimize your repayment strategy.