If you refinanced your student loans recently, you might be worried about keeping up with payments in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, especially if you’ve lost your income.
Student Loan Hero reached out to some leading refinancing lenders to see what they’re doing to offer relief to borrowers during this crisis. If you have a loan with any of these lenders, read on to see how they can help you manage during this difficult time.
- Laurel Road
- Splash Financial
- College Ave Student Loans
- Education Loan Finance
Earnest encourages borrowers who are experiencing financial hardship to reach out to its Client Happiness team via its email portal. While those who need immediate assistance can try calling (888) 601-2801, Earnest says wait times are longer than ever due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Earnest said it has created options for those who are struggling to pay back their loan. As you inquire about what’s available to you, Earnest recommends providing the following information:
- How you’ve been financially impacted by this crisis
- The industry you or others in your household are working in
- When you anticipate being able to resume payments on your loans in the future
Earnest has always offered a number of borrowers protections, including,
- Forbearance for up to 12 months
- The option to skip a payment
- Interest rate reduction for up to six months
- Term and rate modification for borrowers who are unable to pay
- Deferment for those who go back to school or meet other criteria
- Loan discharge for borrowers who experience a permanent disability
If you’ve been impacted by the pandemic, contact Earnest as soon as possible to find out which of its current or new offerings could provide some financial relief.
SoFi is asking borrowers who have been impacted by the coronavirus to reach out to its servicing partner MOHELA by calling (877) 292-7470, or to contact SoFi by emailing [email protected] or by chatting with customer service at SoFi.com.
While it may be expanding borrower protections as the pandemic winds on, SoFi already offers the following to its refinancing customers:
- Temporary forbearance if you lost your job, are experiencing financial hardship, were involved in a military mobilization or experienced a natural disaster
- Deferment if you went back to school, are serving on active-duty military, are facing economic hardship or meet another requirement
- Interest rate deduction of 0.25% for putting your student loans on autopay
- Loan discharge if you experience a permanent and total disability
If your income has been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, Laurel Road advises contacting its loan servicing partner, MOHELA, at 1-877-292-6845. The servicer may be able to offer forbearance or other hardship relief to borrowers.
Laurel Road offers full or partial forbearance for three-month periods at a time, up to a total of 12 months. Some qualifying reasons include job loss or unpaid maternity leave.
You can keep track of other Laurel Road measures in response to the coronavirus crisis by visiting laurelroad.com/coronavirus-response.
Splash Financial works with banks and credit unions to provide student loan refinancing to its customers. While none of its lenders’ policies had changed as of the writing of this report, Splash Financial says it’s nonetheless committed to helping people on an individual basis.
“Anyone who needs support during this time should reach out to us, and we will work with them on an individual basis to either put them on forbearance, waive fees,” or take other action, the company’s founder and CEO Steven Muszynski told Student Loan Hero. “This is an extraordinary time, and we are committed to working to help our borrowers get through this.”
Some of Splash Financial’s lending partners may already offer deferment or forbearance, and most allow deferment for borrowers in medical or dental training. You can reach out directly to your refinancing provider to learn about your options, and can also contact Splash Financial at 1-800-349-3938 or [email protected].
Currently, College Ave already offers:
- Hardship forbearance in three- to six-month increments for up to 12 months
- Student loan deferment for students enrolled in school and those on active duty in the armed forces or National Guard
CommonBond is allowing borrowers to pause payments through natural disaster forbearance, as COVID-19 has been classified as a national disaster. Through this type of forbearance, you can pause payments until the end of the national emergency declaration.
You can apply for CommonBond student loan forbearance here. Within three days, you’ll receive an email to schedule a call with a forbearance specialist, and your application should be processed approximately three days after that.
Note that interest will continue to accrue on your student loans during forbearance, but you won’t have to pay any fees to participate. CommonBond is also waiving all late fees for its members throughout this emergency.
For more information, you can email CommonBond at [email protected] or call its team at (800) 975-7812.
Since LendKey partners with different community banks and credit unions across the country to provide student loan refinancing, it’s also worth contacting your specific lender or loan servicer directly to learn about your options.
If you refinanced with ELFI and need relief, reach out to its customer care center at (844) 601-ELFI (844-691-3534) or email [email protected]. The company is working with borrowers on a case-by-case basis to determine the best path forward.
Currently, ELFI already grants forbearance for up to 12 months to qualifying borrowers who are experiencing financial hardship or a medical difficulty.
Call your loan servicer to discuss your options
As everyone scrambles to adapt to this global emergency, policies may change in the days and weeks to come. Check your lender’s website for its latest updates, and call your loan servicer to discuss your options.
At the same time, be careful not to fall for any student loan scams that pop up during this crisis. Most lenders will not call you directly, so don’t share personal information over the phone with anyone claiming to be your lender.
While the federal government is waiving interest on federal student loans, as well as offering forbearance to anyone who opts in, private lenders vary in their approaches. So make sure to contact your private student loan servicer if you need relief from your payments during these difficult times.