BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Since the start of the pandemic student loan payments have been at a halt. In the coming weeks, President Joe Biden will decide on the future of student loan forgiveness and the payment pause.

“If payments are turned back on, it will be a catastrophe for 45 million people and their families,” said Sabrina Calazan, director of outreach at the Student Debt Crisis Center.

Calazan said paying off student loans during today’s economy will cause a burden on the borrower.

“People should not have to make the choice between paying their rent and keeping a roof over their head and paying their student loan debt,” she said. “The average monthly payment is 400 dollars. So, 400 dollars is being saved in people’s pockets and people are able to put that aside and pay off credit card debt and put that towards a car payment.” 

However, some Republicans in Congress said payments need to restart to help ease inflation.

Dillard University Dean of the College of Business Dr. Dorian Williams said some government officials argue repaying back loans will push people to go back to work.

“The unemployment rate, they are expecting that is one of the things that goes into the recession. It’s the idea that the unemployment rate may stay up because people are not motivated to work,” said Dr. Williams.

According to Student LoanHero, the average balance for Louisiana borrowers is 33,823 dollars. Experts said student loan borrowers have saved five billion dollars a month because of the pause. 

“If you are having trouble making those payments know you can sign up for income-driven payments, there are all sorts of types of programs,” said Michael Kitchen, senior managing editor of Student LoanHero.

Dr. Williams said new borrowers need to consider only taking out the amount they need.

“Individuals that may have taken out loans may have taken out more than they needed and now because of repayments it’s caused their payments to be higher,” he said.

The student loan moratorium ends on August 31st. President Biden is expected to announce his plans before the end of the month.