With the world being shut down due to the Coronavirus Pandemic many people are unable to work and earn money. Because of that paying bills, like a student loan, can be challenging. Luckily the federal government passed a law to help. The CARES Act provides temporary relief for federal student loan borrowers.

Young Female NurseWhat this means is that if you have a federal student loan your payments will be paused automatically from March 13th 2020 through September 30th 2020. You can still make payments if you choose but there will be no penalty and no interest accrued during the forbearance period.

Auto-debit payments are suspended during the administrative forbearance. Any auto-debit payments processed between March 13, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2020, can be refunded to you.

If you don’t want an administrative forbearance and want to continue making payments, contact your loan servicer to opt out of the administrative forbearance, and your auto-debit payments will resume.

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 until the end of the administrative forbearance period.

You also have the option to remain in the administrative forbearance and make manual (i.e., not auto-debit) payments during the administrative forbearance period. Visit your loan servicer’s website to make a payment, or contact your loan servicer for more information.

If your parents can’t work or lose their jobs because of the pandemic talk to the financial aid office at your school. They have flexibility to work with students to adjust financial aid when students’ or their parents’ income changes.

If you need additional financial assistance due to the disruption of campus operations you can be covered under the CARES Act. All schools that participate in the federal student aid programs have been allocated funds to make emergency grants to students who meet the requirements to receive federal student financial aid for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (COVID-19). The grants can help cover eligible expenses such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care. Each school decides the criteria for qualified students to receive a grant, the grant amount, and how and when the grant will be disbursed (paid out) to students. Your financial aid office is your best source of information about grant funds at your school.

To find out if your Direct and FFEL Program loans are owned by ED, visit StudentAid.gov/login. After you log in with your FSA ID, you will be on your StudentAid.gov dashboard. If you click on “view details,” you will be taken to your Aid Summary. If you scroll down on this page, you will see a section called “Loan Breakdown.” In your Loan Breakdown, if you see a servicer name that starts with “DEPT OF ED,” that servicer is for a loan that is owned by ED.

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