Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the office of Federal Student Aid is executing on President Trump’s promise to provide student loan relief during the COVID-19 pandemic through several initiatives:
- All borrowers with federally held student loans will automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for a period of at least 60 days. In addition, those borrowers will have the option to suspend their payments for at least two months to allow them greater flexibility during the COVID-19 crisis. This option will permit borrowers to temporarily cease their payments without accruing interest.
- All federal student loan servicers have been directed to grant an administrative forbearance to any borrower with a federally held loan who requests one. The forbearance will be effective for a period of at least 60 days, beginning on March 13, 2020. To request this forbearance, borrowers must contact their loan servicer online or by phone. The Secretary also authorized an automatic suspension of payments for any borrower more than 31 days delinquent as of March 13, 2020, or who becomes more than 31 days delinquent, to provide borrowers with a safety net.
- For borrowers who continue to make payments, the full amount of their payment will be applied to the principal amount of their loans once all interest accrued prior to President Trump’s March 13 announcement is paid. The Department of Education will work closely with Congress to ensure all student borrowers, including those in income driven repayment plans, receive needed support during this emergency.
- Any borrower who has experienced a change in income should contact their loan servicer to discuss lowering their monthly payment.
Secretary DeVos noted that these initiatives are designed to bring “meaningful relief” so that students and families can focus on staying safe and healthy during the COVID-19 crisis. She also committed that the Department of Education would work closely with Congress to ensure all student borrowers receive needed support during this national emergency.