Information & Resources for Borrowers During the Coronavirus Pandemic
As of January 20, 2021, the payment suspension on federal student loans owned by the Department of Education has been extended through September 30, 2021.
The recently signed federal student loan payment pause covers tens of millions of borrowers. Unfortunately millions more with private student loans and federal loans owned by private companies are left without relief. The SBPC will continue to advocate for meaningful relief for all borrowers. As announcements are made in the coming months, we will continue to update this page to ensure all borrowers have timely and accurate information.
Tips for Managing Your Student Loans
This interview with SBPC Executive Director Seth Frotman on Good Morning America has helpful tips for borrowers.
Frequently Asked Questions on Student Loan
Repayment Options During COVID-19
Q: How will the extension of the payment suspension on federal student loans owned by the Department of Education affect my student loans?
On January 20, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order extending the payment suspension on federal loans owned by the Department of Education until September 30, 2021.
The protections offered under the payment pause extension only apply to federal loans owned by the Department of Education (i.e., Direct Loans and ED-held FFELP Loans).
Commercially held FFELP loans, Perkins loans, and private student loans are not covered under the law. Below, you can learn more about what types of loans you have.
If you have federal student loans you will receive the following protections through September 30, 2021:
- All payments will be suspended on covered federal student loans. Your student loan servicer will automatically suspend all payments due through September 30, 2021. You are NOT required to take any action to have the payment suspension applied to your loans.
- Borrowers will continue to receive credit towards loan forgiveness. During the payment suspension, you will continue to receive payment count credit toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) loan forgiveness, as long as you meet all the other requirements to receive credit. For example, a borrower pursuing PSLF would still need to be working full time for a qualified employer during the suspension period.
- Interest rates on eligible federal loans will be reduced to zero percent. The interest rate on all of your eligible federal student loans will be reduced to zero percent, and this interest rate reduction will be backdated to March 13, 2020. Any payments made after March 13, 2020 will be applied to any previously accrued interest, and then to your principal balance.
- Collection activities on covered loans will be on pause for the duration of the payment suspension. If your loan is in default, all collections activity, including wage garnishment, federal benefit offsets, and federal tax refund offsets. If you are currently in garnishment, you will need to contact your employer directly to ensure the garnishment is paused.
You can find additional information on the Federal Student Aid website: https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus.
Note: Income-Driven Repayment recertification dates that occur during the payment suspension period have been extended by six months
Support for Student Loan Borrowers
For borrowers having problems with their student loans, there are places they can turn for help. Below is a list of state-based resources for borrowers as well as a link to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Complaint portal where borrowers can submit complaints.
State-Level Student Borrower Support2020-State-Student-Loan-Ombuds-Resources
Advocating for Borrowers & Combating Predatory Practices
Policymakers and private companies have a critical role to play right now in providing relief to student loan borrowers. Our research and analysis below advocates for borrower protections and spotlights mismanagement and predatory practices in the student loan system related to COVID-19:
- Great Lakes, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian Sued for Damaging Millions of Student Loan Borrowers’ Credit, Mishandling Pandemic Relief
- U.S. Department of Education and Secretary DeVos Sued for Illegally Seizing Student Borrowers’ Paychecks During Coronavirus Emergency
- As Coronavirus Pandemic Rages, ISA Companies Ramp Up to Reap the Reward
- Why Private Student Loan Borrowers Need to be Part of the Next Congressional Relief Package
- As Coronavirus Pandemic Rages, Americans Deserve More than a CFPB that Chooses to Bury its Head in the Sand
- A Default Every 26 Seconds: Why the Spike in Student Loan Defaults Should Serve as a Warning to Industry and Policymakers
- How Only Temporarily Pausing Student Loan Payments is Setting Borrowers Up for More Problems in the Near Future
- The Dangers of Leaving Student Loan Servicers Responsible for Handling Payment Pauses During the Pandemic
- How the Stimulus Relief Leaves Too Many Federal Student Loan Borrowers Behind
- Joining with Veterans and Military Groups to Urge Financial Institutions to Follow Consumer Protection Law During COVID-19 Mobilizations
- Joining with Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) to Urge Navient Board of Directors to Support Borrowers, Not Shareholders During Crisis
- Joining with Advocates to Urge Congressional Oversight Commission to Monitor CARES Act Funds Going to For-Profit Schools
- Joining with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to Urge Government and Industry Action to Protect Student Loan Borrowers During the Pandemic
- Joining with Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) to Urge Industry to Protect Private Student Loan Borrowers Left Out of the Stimulus