Student Loan Repayment during the Coronavirus Outbreak
Students with federal student loans
A federal stimulus bill to address the impact of the Coronavirus was passed by Congress and signed into law on March 27, 2020. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides additional flexibility for student loan borrowers during the Coronavirus Outbreak, including automatically suspending payments and interest accrual on all federally-held student loans until September 30, 2020. The bill also suspends involuntary collections on these loans, including wage garnishment, and tax refund or Social Security offsets.
Please note that the student loan provisions in the CARES Act apply to many, but not all federal student loans. We encourage borrowers to contact their student loan servicer to see if their loan(s) are affected by this legislation. Detailed updates and an FAQ for students, borrowers and parents, is available at studentaid.gov/coronavirus.
Students with private or other federal loans not covered by the CARES Act
The student loan provisions in the CARES Act do not apply to private student loans or to the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) loans not held by the U.S. Department of Education. Note, however, that if you applied for or received a federal student loan after June 30, 2010, it is most likely a federal direct student loan and would be covered by the relief provisions of the CARES Act. To find out what kind of loan you have, contact your loan servicer (the company or agency to which you make your payments).
ISAC and the state of Illinois have worked to mitigate hardships for student borrowers with other federal loans not covered by the CARES Act. For Illinois students with loans not covered by the CARES Act, including many commercially-held FFELP loans and private student loans, relief is available. Such relief may include loan forbearance for a minimum of 90 days, as well as waiver of late fees. Note that relief will depend on the type of loan. Students should contact their loan servicer to determine the student loan relief that is available to them.
For borrowers who are delinquent on their loans or in default, depending on your loan, debt collection activities might cease for 90 days or longer, and wage garnishments may be suspended for this period. In addition, borrowers who are experiencing hardship as a result of a federal offset of a tax refund or Social Security benefits may also be eligible for relief. Borrowers should contact their servicer to determine the type of relief available.
If you hold federal student loans that are not already eligible for all the benefits available under the CARES Act, you do have the option to consolidate loans that are not covered by the Act into a federal direct loan. But borrowers should carefully review their options before consolidating: Consolidation may or may not be more advantageous to a borrower, depending on their particular loans. Borrowers should contact their loan servicer to evaluate their options.
For more information about student loan relief for borrowers in Illinois, check out this fact sheet from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation at https://bit.ly/2yK5ZnS
How do I know what kind of student loan I have?
If you are not sure what type of loan you have, and/or you are having trouble making payments on your student loan, contact your loan servicer. You may qualify for a different repayment plan with a lower monthly payment or, as noted above, be eligible for a deferment or forbearance so you can temporarily stop making monthly payments.
If you are not sure who your loan servicer is, access your loan history through studentaid.gov or call the Federal Aid Information Center at (800) 433-3243.