Winooski, VT – Pandemic-era holds on student debt are expiring, and according to the Department of Education, roughly 78,000 Vermonters will be making loan payments to the federal government for the first time in three years.

Scott Giles, President and CEO of the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation says despite that large number, most borrowers only have about $20,000 worth of payments left.

“Education is one of the most important investments an individual can make. However, a large piece of that for many people is the student loan debt,” says Giles

The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation assists over 42,000 borrowers each year. For Vermonters who are worried or currently struggling to make their payments, Giles says there are help options available.  

“We’ve been reaching out to as many Vermonters as we can saying hey, if you’re concerned about navigating this, can’t get through to your servicer, or don’t understand the options they’ve provided, we’re here to help you navigate all that,” says Giles.

Overall, 40 million Americans hold approximately $1.6 trillion dollars in student loan debt.

According to Fox Business, average loan payments will range between $200-$300, and financial experts are expecting to see spending cutbacks, particularly in retail.