New critical details released for student loan relief against coronavirus
Last week, Congress passed a stimulus package that provides short-term critical student loan relief for millions of student loan borrowers. The relief includes a suspension of certain federal student loan payments and collections until September 30, 2020, as well as an interest freeze. While the relief package does not help all student loan borrowers, many will benefit.
Sadly, student loan borrowers desperate for details and immediate relief have been left in limbo. The Department of Education has not issued any guidelines for student loan managers on how borrowers should access these programs. When student loan borrowers contacted their agents to request more information, they may not have received complete or correct facts.
Now the The Ministry of Education has finally released details and guidance regarding these student loan relief programs, which will then be disseminated to loan officers and debt collectors. Here are some highlights:
- The department has confirmed that payments on federal student loans held by the government will be suspended until September 30, 2020. The suspension is automatic. Borrowers do not have to apply for it.
- The ministry confirmed that the suspended months will count towards the release of the civil service loan, even if the payments are not made. Months of payment suspension will also count towards loan cancellation associated with income-based repayment plans and for defaulting borrower rehabilitation programs. Borrowers must not request forbearance, as forbearance periods may not count towards loan cancellation.
- Borrowers in default will have their wage garnishments, social security compensations and tax refund garnishments suspended. This will be retroactive to March 13, 2020. Any seizure of tax refunds, social security compensation or wage garnishment occurring between March 13, 2020 and September 30, 2020 will be refunded to borrowers.
- Loan managers will be responsible for suspending billing and all direct debits effective April 10, 2020.
- The suspension of payments is retroactive to March 13, 2020. Borrowers who have made a payment – or had a payment automatically debited from their bank account – between March 13, 2020 and September 30, 2020 can contact their loan department to request a payment. refund.
- For borrowers with an income-based repayment plan, recertification deadlines may be extended.
I repeat, these relief programs apply alone federal loans held by the government. This does not apply to Federal FFEL program loans and Federal Perkins loans not held by the government, nor to private student loans.