Coronavirus Private Student Loan Relief: How to Get It

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While the new coronavirus pandemic relief measures halt payments on federal student loans, they don’t apply to private student loans. Fortunately, some private lenders are allowing borrowers to postpone payments on their student debt.

Find your private student loan lenders on this list to see what they are doing to provide financial relief during the COVID-19 crisis. (We’ve also included contact information for federal servicers. See the bottom of this report.)

Access Group Education Lending
Ascent Student Loans
Citizens Bank
College Ave
CommonBond
Discover
Earnest
Education Loan Finance (ELFI)
EDvestinU
Heartland ECSI
HESAA
iHelp
LendKey
MEFA
Navient private loans
Navy Federal Credit Union
PNC
Prodigy Finance
RISLA
Sallie Mae
SoFi
U-fi From Nelnet
Other private student loan lenders and servicers
Federal student loan servicers

Access Group Education Lending

Access Group encourages borrowers to reach out to their student loan servicer, whether Firstmark or Nelnet, to inquire about pausing payments through forbearance.

You can call Firstmark at 888-538-7378 or email [email protected]. To reach Nelnet, call 888-486-4722 or send a message here.

Ascent Student Loans

Ascent is offering a new Natural Disaster/Declared Emergency Forbearance option that pauses payments on student loans for three months.

Some of its other offerings include temporary hardship forbearance for up to 24 months, active-duty military deferment for up to 36 months and graduate/internship/residency deferment for up to 48 months.

You can request a forbearance through its servicing partner, Launch Servicing, by calling 877-354-2629 or emailing [email protected].

Citizens Bank

If you have private student loans from Citizens Bank, you might be able to get relief by calling its student lending advisors at 1-888-411-0266. You could also try Citizens Bank’s servicing partner, Firstmark, at 888-538-7378. In general, Citizens Bank offers deferment and forbearance options on a case-by-case basis.

College Ave

If you have College Ave student loans and need a break from payments, you can apply for the company’s disaster forbearance program, which suspends payments for three months.

To enroll in this program, you need to email [email protected]. In your email, include the following information:

  • Your 12-digit loan ID in the subject line. If you have several loans, a single loan ID will suffice.
  • Your full name and date of birth in the email body.

College Ave should process your request within five business days. While you can complete the process via email, you can also chat with its customer service team online for additional assistance.

If you choose disaster forbearance, interest will keep accruing on your loans, but it won’t be capitalized (added to your total balance) when the forbearance ends and full repayment resumes.

CommonBond

Online lender CommonBond encourages its customers to take advantage of its natural disaster forbearance program if they’re having trouble keeping up with payments. This program pauses payments through the end of the national emergency declaration.

You can apply for forbearance at commonbond.co/forbearance. Once you submit your application, you’ll speak with a CommonBond forbearance specialist about the program. After your call, your request should be processed in three business days.

To fill out the application, you’ll simply need to enter your personal information, employment information and a reason for the request.

Discover

Discover says it has put assistance options in place for borrowers who are facing hardship as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. To learn about what it’s offering, you can call its customer service team at 1-800-STUDENT or 1-800-223-5614.

Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, Discover offered the following hardship protections for student loan borrowers:

  • Deferment of student loan payments to borrowers who go back to school, serve in a qualifying public organization or meet other criteria.
  • Early repayment assistance program, which delays a borrower’s first payment for up to three months.
  • Reduced payments for loans that are less than 60 days delinquent.
  • Forbearance, which postpones payments for up to 12 months for borrowers facing financial hardship.
  • A hardship program which reduces the interest rate for six months for borrowers experiencing extreme difficulties.

Given the current circumstances, the 12-month forbearance option might be the most relevant for many borrowers, but speak with Discover’s team to determine the best path forward.

Earnest

If you need a break from your Earnest student loans, you might be able to get three months of paused payments through its disaster forbearance program. Submit your request on Earnest’s website here.

Education Loan Finance (ELFI)

Although ELFI hasn’t advertised specific forbearance options, it says it has options for borrowers who are struggling. For help from ELFI, call its customer care center at 844-601-ELFI or email [email protected].

EDvestinU

EDvestinU offers economic hardship deferment to borrowers who are having trouble making payments. Find out about your options by emailing [email protected] or calling 855-887-5430.

Heartland ECSI

If you’re paying back private loans to Heartland ECSI, you might be able to qualify for deferment or forbearance. You can track down the relevant application forms on its website here or contact ECSI at 1-888-549-3274 or [email protected].

HESAA

If you borrowed NJCLASS loans from HESAA, student loan relief options are available. You can find applications for temporary disability or unemployment forms here and here, respectively, or contact HESAA about other means of financial hardship relief by emailing [email protected].

iHelp

iHelp provides temporary forbearance to borrowers who have experienced medical issues or income loss due to COVID-19. Find out if you qualify by emailing [email protected] or calling 800-592-1270.

LendKey

LendKey doesn’t loan money directly, but it says many of its lending partners are offering forbearance options at this time. While your best bet is probably to contact your lender or loan servicer, you can also reach out to LendKey by emailing [email protected].

MEFA

If you have MEFA loans, you can pause payments for three months through its natural disaster forbearance. You might also get relief beyond this point with a modified payment plan. For assistance, call its loan servicing provider, American Education Services (AES), at 800-233-0557.

Navient private loans

For its private student loan customers, Navient is offering up to three months of forbearance. Interest will continue to accrue at this time, but it won’t be capitalized, or added to the principal, at the end of this period. You can contact Navient at 888-272-5543.

Navy Federal Credit Union

Like many other private student loan providers, Navy Federal Credit Union is offering three months of forbearance. Learn more by calling its Student Loan Center at 1-877-304-9302.

PNC

PNC may offer both deferment and payment modification options to borrowers at this time. To discuss your individual situation, reach out to PNC’s loan servicing provider AES Success. You can do this by logging into your account and selecting “having your payments postponed.” You can also call AES Success directly by calling 800-233-0557 or sending a message here.

Prodigy Finance

Prodigy Finance is another lender offering a forbearance arrangement for three months. Find out if you’re eligible by emailing [email protected].

RISLA

You can request a three-month suspension of your RISLA loan payments online here.

Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae is encouraging borrowers facing financial difficulties to get in touch: “We have assistance options available to you to help you keep your account in good standing during this unique health emergency.”

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, Sallie Mae let borrowers pause payments through forbearance for three months at a time, up to a limit of 12 months. Note that student loan interest may continue to accrue.

If you have Sallie Mae student loans, you can contact its customer service agents online via chat or through the Sallie Mae app. You can also call 800-4-SALLIE (800-472-5543).

Borrowers who are late on their payments, meanwhile, should instead call 877-604-8834.

SoFi

SoFi is allowing borrowers in need to postpone payments on their loans temporarily. You can request a payment deferral by submitting this form. If you need additional help, call SoFi at 855-456-SOFI (7634) or email [email protected].

U-fi From Nelnet

U-fi From Nelnet, which provides private student loans, is offering three months of forbearance to borrowers who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. You can complete this forbearance application and upload it to your online account.

Other private student loan lenders and servicers

Although private student loans aren’t eligible for the same protections that federal loans have, the top student lenders are stepping in to help borrowers pause their payments during this difficult time. Some make it easy to apply online, while others work with borrowers individually over the phone.

To learn more about your options, email or call your loan servicer ASAP. The sooner you ask for help, the sooner you’ll be able to get a break from your private student loan payments.

Just remember that interest will very likely continue to accrue on private student loans, meaning your balance will grow during a period of paused payments. But if you’re facing financial hardship, postponing payments could be exactly what you need right now to navigate this difficult time.

For additional information on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting student loan repayment and related issues, head to our Student Loan Hero Coronavirus Information Center.

Federal student loan servicers

While the policies of the private lenders above vary from one to the other, all federal servicers are doing the same thing: automatically processing the six-month interest and payment suspension on federal student loans.

For more information on federal loan servicers’ response to the COVID-19 crisis, click on the links below or use the contact information provided. Note that you can choose to continue making payments during this period of administrative forbearance.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
1.89% – 6.66%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

1.89% – 5.90%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.25% – 6.09%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.99% – 5.34%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

1.97% – 8.54%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

2.39% – 6.01%Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Elfi

Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.

The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of October 1, 2020.


2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

All credit products are subject to credit approval.

Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.

As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

  1. Checking your rate with Laurel Road only requires a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
  2. Savings vary based on rate and term of your existing and refinanced loan(s). Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Review your loan documentation for total cost of your refinanced loan.
  3. After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship. During any period of forbearance interest will continue to accrue. At the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized and be added to the remaining principle amount of the loan.
  4. Automatic Payment (“AutoPay”) Discount: if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically from a bank account, the interest rate will decrease by 0.25% and will increase back if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically from the borrower’s bank account. The 0.25% AutoPay discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal to help pay the loan down faster.

Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.

Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.

Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.

Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.

KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

This information is current as of December 1, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
 


3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 2.99% APR to 6.09% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.09% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.25% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.18% plus 2.32% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. See eligibility details. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. 

4 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.49% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.34% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of October 26, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 10/26/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.


5 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it  endorse,  any educational institution.

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of  5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.

As of 11/13/2020 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.97% to 8.54% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.95% to 8.77% Fixed APR with AutoPay.

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