😭 Prepare for your bank account to drain
Plus: ✈️ Cheap flight alert!
It’s Wednesday, Boston.
🦝 New fear unlocked: Five raccoons in Boston tested positive for rabies, so if your furbaby isn’t vaccinated, they can get a free jab at two clinics next month. As someone with a borderline raccoon phobia (not kidding) this news is actually my worst nightmare.
👀 What’s on tap today:
Po po transparency
Sweet flight deals
Belichick is a Swiftie
Student loan countdown starts now
Illustration: Emily Schario
Taylor Swift is re-entering her 1989 era, while we commoners are re-entering our student loan era. After a three-and-a-half year freeze, we’re less than 10 days from federal student loan interest kicking back in. And more than half of borrowers say they’re going to have to decide between paying their debt or their groceries.
So if it’s been a minute since you checked your loan portal, here’s what to know:
📈 Interest kicks in Sept. 1, and payments restart in October. While the deadline for resuming payments has been pushed off nine times since 2020, don’t expect another delay (a provision in June’s debt ceiling deal permanently killed that idea). And thanks to the Supreme Court shooting President Biden’s loan forgiveness plan in the foot, that loan balance is all you.
😅 That said, if you miss a payment, it’s not the end of the world. Biden’s admin is giving borrowers a 12-month “on ramp” period to get back in the swing of things, meaning borrowers won’t get placed in default or have their credit score dinged if they miss a payment through September 2024.
👀 Make sure to double check your loan service provider. Several lenders who managed government debt stopped during the freeze (ya know, because they weren’t making money). Which means an estimated four in 10 borrowers will have a new servicer this fall. You should have received an email about it, but if not, you can check who your new servicer is here. FWIW, my loans originally with Great Lakes are now with Nelnet.
🤑 Good news? Biden’s Plan B for student loan forgiveness is officially live. As a workaround to the Supreme Court’s thumbs down, Biden launched the SAVE program, an income-driven repayment plan that could cut your monthly payments in half (and in some cases, eliminate them entirely), prevent your loan balance from growing as long as you pay your monthly payment, and more. That said, some opponents say it’s only a matter of time before this plan gets hit with legal challenges. But until then, you can apply for the program here.
🎓 And there’s more good news on the local level. As part of the state budget, over 3,000 behavioral and mental health workers in Mass. received over $140 million in student loan repayment through the MA Repay Program, with another $100 million in the pipeline for health care workers. Plus, Mass. teachers could be next: The Dept. of Higher Ed will be launching a loan repayment program for up to $25,000 of student debt relief for educators who work at a public K-12 school for at least four years.
💸 How much student debt do you have?
Let us know below!
Quick & dirty headlines
Image: Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff
👮The state po po just got a hair more transparent. If you’ve ever had a hairy encounter with a state cop, you can now see if they have a hairy track record. A database with over 3,000 disciplinary records of over 2,000 police officers was made public Tuesday by the state’s police accountability board, including active officers with allegations against them, as well as those who retired or resigned to avoid getting in trouble. You can look up officers by their last name or department in the database here.
🗃️ Mass. is changing the way it counts Asian and Black residents. A new rule in the new state budget is requiring state agencies to collect race and ethnicity data on a more granular level, e.g. asking folks if they’re one of 20+ Asian or Pacific Islander groups instead of labeling them all Asian-American. It’s the most expansive effort in the U.S. so far, and proponents think it’ll give lawmakers a clearer understanding of certain groups’ needs. But some Chinese residents are worried detailed data could make them targets for racial profiling.
✈️ JetBlue is coming in clutch with the cheap flight deals. Thanks to their Big Fall Sale, you can book a cheap getaway out of Logan with one-way fares as low as $39. But there are three catches: You have to travel between Sept. 6 and Nov. 15; you can’t travel on a Friday or Sunday; and you have to book the cheapest fare shown (which conveniently includes taxes and fees). The best getaways we’ve seen are $44 fares to NYC, $49 fares to D.C., $54 fares to Miami, $109 fares to San Francisco, and $134 to Cancun.
🍄 It’s a mushroom girl summer. This soggy summer may have flooded basements, kept you inside, and ruined your blowouts, but there’s one thing that’s been loving it: mushrooms. These fungi love moist conditions, and local mushroom experts (mycologists) say their growth has been extreme this season, welcoming vibrant colors (these ones look black and furry) and shapes (this one looks like a cartoon hamburger bun). But obviously, don’t eat them unless you’re 100% certain it’s OK — poisonous mushrooms can unalive you.
ONE LAST THING
Belichick is in his Lover era
Image: Jim Davis/Globe Staff; Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP. Illustration: Emily Schario.
BREAKING: Bill Belichick is a Swiftie.
The Patriots head coach mostly talked football during an interview on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show earlier this week, but when asked if he caught any concerts this summer, he admitted to seeing “a little bit of Taylor.”
Belichick was in attendance for Swift’s rain show at Gillette in May, and thought her performance was “pretty impressive.”
“She’s tough, man. Just stood out there and played right through it,” he said.
Now, whether he considers himself an official Swiftie is still up for debate. “What does that mean, like you have a sweatshirt or something?” he asked. Just cut off the sleeves, Bill!
But he stans her song “You Need To Calm Down,” as there “are a lot of times when that’s very appropriate.”
😂 Thanks for reading! As our stoic king, his favorite track … tracks.
🙄 The results are in: Nearly 60% of B-Side readers think the best moving hack is … to hire movers. One reader added, “pick a place and stay as long as possible.” While I don’t appreciate the snark, they’re technically not wrong.