WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I CAN’T PAY MY STUDENT LOANS?

All Federal student loans issued by the Department of Education have had interest accrual suspended from March 13th until December 31, 2020.  This means that, even if you make regular student loan payments, the interest will not accrue during this time.  If you make payments during this time, you will likely see your total balance decrease faster because the payments will be applied only to principal and already-accrued interest, since new interest is not accruing during this time.  The Department of Education previously stopped all collection activities, such as garnishments from Social Security benefits.  However, garnishments from Social Security benefits for debts owed to the Federal government (including defaulted student loans) resumed again on October 1, 2020.

All Federal student loans issued by the Department of Education have also been placed into administrative forbearance, with payments temporarily suspended, until December 31, 2020.  Payments were suspended through September 30, 2020 by the CARES Act, but this program was extended by executive order through December 31, 2020.  This means that you do not owe payments on these loans until December 31st.  Your servicer has been directed to automatically place your loans into forbearance and stop auto-debits from being withdrawn.  Additionally, the months in which your loans are in administrative forbearance will count toward payments needed to achieve Public Service Loan Forgiveness or any other sort of loan forgiveness program requiring a certain number of on-time payments.  Please consult the section regarding the Federal CARES Act for more information about this program.

Please contact your servicer for information about these programs.  As many businesses have switched to teleworking or remote working, you may have trouble getting through on the phones.  Please try to communicate with servicers via email or Internet wherever possible to avoid this.

For further information regarding Federal student loans, please visit https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus.

These programs do not apply to Federal Perkins loans held by the institution you attended, or private loans.  Please contact the servicers for these loans to see if they have any programs to help borrowers having difficulty making payments.