FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Interest will start accumulating on student loans on September 1, a month before payments are set to restart.

A pause on payments and interest has been in place for three years because of the pandemic.

Mark Jones is a credit counselor for Credit Counseling Arkansas. He says most clients stopped paying off their loans entirely during the pause, and now they’re worried about payments restarting.

He normally suggests people pay 0.75% to 1% of the balance every month to get it paid off in a reasonable amount of time.

For some, that could be as expensive as a mortgage payment. So at the very least, he says pay the finance charge so that the balance doesn’t keep rising.

He says it’s not too late to start looking at your finances and begin prioritizing paying off your student loans now.

“Student loans are actually a dangerous debt because they can never be discharged in a bankruptcy,” Jones said.

Jones advises students to be proactive, get an idea of what their monthly payment will be and anticipate what their budget will have to look like in order to pay it off.

Lastly, he says to get through school as quickly as you can.