Have federal student loans? Read this.

Although January 2021 is just a few months away, it’s enough time to make a change to your...
Although January 2021 is just a few months away, it’s enough time to make a change to your federal loan payments and avoid defaulting on the loans.(Source: NerdWallet)
Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 6:27 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Paying bills and dealing with debts during the coronavirus pandemic has not been easy for many across the country, especially students navigating through changing semesters.

The CARES Act has provided temporary payment relief to borrowers with qualifying federal student loans since March. The benefits from the CARES Act have been extended until December 31, 2020.

Here’s what you need to know about your federal student loans, from the Federal Trade Commission:

1. Some federal student loans don’t qualify – for example, older Family Federal Education Loan (FFEL) program loans or Perkins Loans that are owned by the school you attended. Contact your federal loan servicer online or by phone to find out if your loans are eligible.

2. If your federal loans are covered, the U.S. Department of Education has automatically placed your loans into what’s called “administrative forbearance.” That means you can stop making payments on those loans right away, up through December 31, 2020. If your payments automatically come out of your bank account, check if any payments have been processed since March 13, 2020. If they have, you may be able to get a refund as part of administrative forbearance.

3. If you want to keep making payments on your qualifying federal student loan through December 31, the interest rate is now 0%. So any payments you make during the forbearance period may help you pay off your debt faster. If you’re on an income-based repayment program and/or a forgiveness program, you should check out Federal Student Aid’s Coronavirus page to see which option makes sense for you.

4. If your federal student loans are in default, the U.S. Department of Education has stopped making collection calls, and sending letters or billing statements through December 31, 2020. And if your federal loans were in default and your employer continues to garnish your wages, you’ll get a refund.

This program only applies to federal student loans. Here are two things you can do to find out:

  • Get a complete list of your private and federal student loans by pulling your credit report.
  • Confirm which of your loans are federal. Log into FSA or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.

The FTC says you don’t need to hire a company to help you get the payment relief. The program is already in place and there’s nothing you need to do to enroll.

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