Student Loan help under the CARES Act
More information is coming out about the CARES Act that was signed into law on March 27th. The CARES Act has relief built in for Americans due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and one piece in it is relief for student loans. Under the new law, most Federal Loans will automatically be put into forbearance and there will be 0% interest on those loans between March 13th and September 30th.
This is a new program and the kinks are still being worked out but if you have questions on your loans and if they qualify for the new program, contact your lender. This does not mean loans will be forgiven, this is just a pause on all student loan payments while the country grapples with COVID-19. To view what relief is available for student loans under the CARES Act, visit the US Department of Education website.
A few things to keep in mind during this period in regards to student loan relief and the CARES Act that has been signed into law.
- Your payments will automatically stop from March 13, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2020.
To provide relief to student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency, federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment. This suspension of payments will last until Sept. 30, 2020, but you can still make payments if you choose. If you made a payment on a student loan between March 13th and March 27th you can be reimbursed for that payment. Contact your lender for more details.
- Which loans do these apply to?
From March 13, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2020, the interest rate is 0% on the following types of federal student loans owned by the United States Education Department:
- Defaulted and non-defaulted Direct Loans
- Defaulted and non-defaulted FFEL Program loans
- Federal Perkins Loans
Please note that some FFEL Program loans are owned by commercial lenders, and some Perkins Loans are owned by the institution you attended. These loans are not eligible for this benefit at this time.
- What if I want to continue making payments?
If you wish to continue paying your loans during the administrative forbearance period, or to pay more or less than your regular payment amount, you are free to do so. Contact your loan servicer or visit your servicer’s website to make a payment or to find out how you can continue or start auto-debit payments.
Continuing to make payments during the administrative forbearance could help you pay down your loan balance more quickly because the full amount of a payment will be applied to principal once all interest accrued prior to March 13, 2020, is paid.
If you do have a change in your employment status or opt to move your loan back into forbearance, contact your lender.
The information above is from the US Department of Education and the information on their website can be viewed here.