Posted 4/2/2020 | Updated 8/22/2022
We are committed to keeping student loan borrowers and schools updated with changes to the student loan program resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Student Connections is available to provide loan counseling services to any borrower with questions. We can be reached at (866) 311-9450, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. We also can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Current Student Loan Relief
Here’s what you need to know about federal student loans owned by the Department of Education:
- Payments and accruing interest were initially suspended March 2020. UPDATE: On Aug. 22, the U.S. Department of Education announced it would extend the payment pause until Dec. 31, 2022, as well as provide a one-time student loan cancellation based on income.
- If you were previously delinquent on your loan payments, this suspension brought your account current. Use this opportunity to explore other payment relief options – like income-driven repayment – that can work for you when payments resume.
- If you were enrolled in an auto debit program, starting in April 2020 your payments stopped being automatically withdrawn from your associated bank account (unless you asked your loan servicer to resume automatic payments). After Dec. 31, automatic debit payments may or may not resume automatically being taken from your bank account on your first payment due date. You can review the details about auto-debit Payments at https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus.
If you choose to keep making payments:
- Once all the interest that accrued prior to March 13 is paid, the portion that normally goes to interest will be applied to the principal balance – reducing the amount you would pay over the life of the loan.
- You will need to contact your loan servicer or log into your online account to make a payment.
If you choose to NOT make payments:
- You are being charged a 0% interest rate and are not expected to make payments, so it will not hurt you.
- Each month the loan payment was suspended will still count toward a qualifying payment for the purposes of any loan forgiveness or rehabilitation program.
The Department of Education warns students to not accept unexpected offers of financial aid or help (such as a “pandemic grant” or “Biden loan forgiveness”) without checking with your school to see if the offer is legit. Scams targeting student loan borrowers encouraging them to pay for loan forgiveness have been prevalent over the last year.
Steps to Take Now
Student Connections is here to help student loan borrowers answer their questions and process loan requests in cooperation with their servicer.
Here are some steps you should take before December 31:
- Update your contact information at StudentAid.gov so you get important updates about the federal student loan payment suspension.
- Check out the Loan Simulator on StudentAid.gov to explore repayment plans that may lower your monthly payment when the suspension of payments ends. Depending on your situation, an income-driven repayment plan could provide a payment as low as $0.
- If you need to postpone payments beyond September, contact your student loan servicer to explore other deferment and forbearance options.
For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and student loan payment relief, visit your loan servicer’s website. You can also visit: https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus.