Information for student loan borrowers
Principal and interest payments on federally-held student loans are automatically suspended through December 31, 2020.
The CARES Act suspended principal and interest payments on federally-held student loans through September 30, 2020, and an Executive Order directed the Department of Education to extend the suspension until December 31, 2020. The Department of Education extended other student loan benefits in the CARES Act until December 31, 2020.
What you need to know
- Interest and monthly payments on federally-held loans are suspended through December 31, 2020.
- You do not need to contact your student loan servicer or take any action on your federally-held student loans.
- Make sure your servicer has up-to-date contact information and check your mail or email so you can receive any updates or information about your loans.
- Suspended payments through December 31, 2020, will count towards any student loan forgiveness program, as long as all other requirements of the loan forgiveness program are met.
Find out if you qualify
The student loan payment and interest suspension only applies to federal student loans held by the Department of Education.
Some federal student loans under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program are owned by commercial lenders, and some Perkins Loans are held by the institution or school you attended. Your FFEL lender or school may choose to suspend interest and payments on a voluntary basis, but they are not required by law to do so. You can contact your servicer to find out if these options are available to you.
What to do if you have federally-held student loans
You don't need to take any action. From March 13 through December 31, 2020, the interest rate is set to 0% and payments are suspended for student loans owned by the federal government. If you are financially able to make payments or continue making payments on your student loans, any payments you made or make after March 13 will be applied directly to principal. This will help you pay off your loans faster.
If you made a payment toward your federally-held student loans after March 13, you can request a refund from your student loan servicer.
If your federal student loan is already in default
The Department of Education has stopped the collection of defaulted federal student loans, including garnishment of wages and the offset of tax refunds and Social Security benefits, through December 31, 2020.
There is no additional action required from you for your federally-owned loans. For all other defaulted federal loans, contact your loan holder to find out about your options.
If you are rehabilitating a defaulted student loan, any missed payments through December 31, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic will not be considered a missed payment against your rehabilitation.
If you are working toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness
If you are working toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) you need to be aware of a few key items. Only Direct Loans are eligible for PSLF. All Direct Loans are owned by the federal government. For Direct Loans, even though payments are suspended, those suspended payments through December 31, 2020, will count as though you had made a payment toward loan forgiveness programs as long as the other the PSLF program requirements are met.
If you have other types of federal loans and are working in public service, you can consolidate most, if not all, of those loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan, which is eligible for PSLF if other program requirements are met.
If someone contacted you to pay a fee to suspend your payments
You do not need to pay someone to help with your student loans. You should also be aware of these warning signs to help you avoid student loan debt relief scams and how to get help.
What to do if your federal loan is held by commercial lenders or your school
Some loans under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program are owned by commercial lenders, and some Perkins Loans are held by the institution or school you attended. FFEL lenders and schools may choose to offer interest and payment suspension benefits. If you have FFEL or Perkins loans, you should contact your student loan servicer for more information.
Perkins loan borrowers can request forbearance from their institution, not to exceed three months. This forbearance counts toward the cumulative three-year maximum allowed for Perkins loan forbearance. Additionally, you are not required to provide documentation to be considered for forbearance.
Federal student loan borrowers can consider . Depending on your income or family size, your payments could be as low as $0. You may be able to enroll online without calling your servicer by visiting . If you are already enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan but are experiencing a change in income, ask your servicer to recalculate your monthly payment.
If you are still required to make a payment that you can’t afford and you only need a temporary pause on payments, investigate whether deferment or forbearance is an option for you. Servicers can grant a 90-day forbearance to borrowers who are experiencing financial difficulties due to the pandemic. If you are still unable to make a payment after 90 days, you can request to renew this forbearance. Putting your loans into a deferment or forbearance will not result in negative credit reporting.
What to do if you have private student loans
Many private lenders have already implemented forbearance options that allow borrowers to postpone monthly payments, some for up to 90 days. Some private lenders also are waiving late fees and will not file negative reports to consumer reporting agencies. Some private lenders also offer their own reduced payment options. To find out what is available to you, contact your student loan servicer.