[Updated: The interest-free pause on most federal student loan repayment has been extended one final time until Dec. 31, 2022]
All federal student loans will have their interest rates cut to 0% for at least two months, and anyone who wants to can suspend their payments completely, the U.S. Department of Education announced March 20.
Following up on plans announced a week earlier to waive student loan interest during the coronavirus pandemic, the department said in a statement all borrowers would also have access to two months or more of administrative forbearance, meaning their repayment would be paused, retroactively to March 13.
Payments will also be automatically suspended for anyone more than 31 days delinquent on their loan.
“Right now, everyone should be focused on staying safe and healthy, not worrying about their student loan balance growing,” Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said in the statement.
Any borrower can request the deferment by contacting their student loan servicer either online or by phone.
It wasn’t immediately clear how long the new measures would last. However, the emergency move may soon be followed by much larger forms of student loan relief. Among possible moves, Senate Democrats are calling for the government to pay off $10,000 or more of each federal student loan borrower’s debt.