The coronavirus outbreak has changed the entire landscape of student loan repayment and refinance. This means that some of the advice on this blog, while still valid, might be less relevant depending on how long the pandemic remains a threat.
In order to give you the very latest information on how to deal with your student loans during this crisis, we’ve created this information center with links to our latest reports on new developments and updated guidance.
Check back regularly for more details on how to keep student debt from wrecking your finances during the outbreak.
Student Loan Hero wishes you and your loved ones safety and well-being during this difficult time.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your student loans: FAQ
What is happening with student loan repayment during the coronavirus outbreak?
The Senate has passed a massive economic rescue bill that would suspend all federal student loan payments and halt all interest charges, through Sept. 30. The bill will now move to the House. (See “latest news reports” below.) As for private student loans, each lender will be different — you can see what assistance is available by clicking below on our report “Student Loan Refinance Lenders Offering Help.”
Will payment on ALL federal student loans be suspended?
Under the current bill, the interest-free halt to repayment would only apply to federal student loans owned by the Department of Education. This covers most government-issued loans, but note that some Federal Family Education Loans (FFELs) are commercially managed, and some Perkins loans are owned by your college. If the final legislative package doesn’t suspend payment on these loans, then you could consider asking your servicer to combine them into a federal direct consolidation loan, which would qualify for the suspension. That said, be aware that such a move can affect applications for student loan forgiveness.
What can I do if I’ve run out of money/lost my income?
If you’re in desperate straits, know that at least your federal student loans won’t be a problem now that the government looks set to suspend all repayment. (See “latest news reports” below.) For your private loans, meanwhile, you should definitely contact your lender to see about pausing your payments via forbearance, although this might not be interest-free. In the meantime, be sure to check out some of our articles below on “emergency resources” and “how to earn money at home” for things you can do to keep yourself fed and housed.
Should I refinance my student loans during the crisis?
How good an idea refinancing is right now will depend on your personal situation, and especially whether you’re talking about federal or private loans. If you’re concerned about your finances or losing a job, you’ll likely want to hold tight on your federal loans, as all payments on these may soon be suspended. On the other hand, interest rates have plunged in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, so it’s a great time for deals if you’re considering refinancing — particularly with private student loans, since those payments won’t be suspended, and you won’t be giving up any federal protections. As for refinancing federal student loans, first make sure that your finances are solid and you’ll be able to afford the payments before you trade the government protections on your federal loans for a potentially lower interest rate. For more information, have a look at some of the posts listed below under “how to refinance your loans.”
How would suspending payments affect student loan forgiveness, such as PSLF?
If the current language in the Senate bill is passed into law, you will still be able to make progress toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness or other federal forgiveness programs. According to a report in Forbes, even if you take advantage of the six-month suspension of payments, the programs will still consider it as if you had kept up your repayment.
Latest news reports:
- Congress OKs 6-Month Halt to Student Loan Repayment
- Coronavirus Relief Bill To Suspend Federal Student Loan Payments; Collections Already Halted
- Student Loan Refinance Lenders Offering Help
- Student Loan Interest Rates, Refinance Rates Head to All-Time Lows
Other useful posts:
- 6 Charitable Resources to Use When You Can’t Cover the Basics
- 11 Free, On-Campus College Resources and Services You Should Use
- Don’t Panic: How to Handle an Eviction Notice
How to refinance your loans
- Best Banks to Refinance and Consolidate Student Loans
- Should You Refinance Your Federal Student Loans?
- Student Loan Refinancing Calculator
How to earn money from home
- Work From Home Online Side Jobs That Can Pay More Than $15/hour
- How to Make Money on Your Phone – 25 Easy Ways
- 7 Great Remote Jobs for College Students