If you have student loan debt from higher education or trade school you may be getting some relief that will help you manage your debts and responsibilities at this difficult time.
What you need to know
The program gives temporary payment relief – put in place by Congress for March 13, 2020 to September 30, 2020. Some federal student loans don’t qualify – for example, older Family Federal Education Loan (FFEL) program loans or Perkins Loans that are owned by the school you attended. Contact your federal loan servicer online or by phone to find out if your loans are eligible.
If your federal loans are covered, the Department of Education has automatically placed your loans into what’s called “administrative forbearance.” That means you can stop making payments on those loans right away, up through September 30, 2020. If your payments automatically come out of your bank account, check if any payments have been processed since March 13. If they have, you may be able to get a refund as part of administrative forbearance.
If you want to keep making payments on your qualifying federal student loan through September 30, the interest rate is now 0%. So any payments you make during forbearance may help you pay off your debt faster. If you’re on an income-based repayment program and/or a forgiveness program, you should check out Federal Student Aid’s Coronavirus page to see which option makes sense for you.
And the other caveat – it is only for Federal student loans. If you have a private loan you are still obligated to pay. But reach out to your lender. They may have put in place their own program to help borrowers at this difficult time.