Connie Schlosberg

 

With classes starting up again at colleges throughout the country, some of you may be reflecting on the mound of student loans you're trying to dig out from. One good thing for you to know is that on March 27, Congress passed the CARES Act, which included financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

What You Should Know about Student Loans

Student Loans and the CARES Act

As part of the CARES Act, federal student loans were automatically put in forbearance, allowing you to temporarily stop making your monthly payments. Additionally, interest has been provisionally set at 0% on federal student loans.

You should understand that the provisions of the CARES Act that affect student loans are temporary. The changes to your federal student loans will end on September 30, 2020 unless a new act or stimulus package is approved. (As of this writing, negotiations are ongoing, although President Trump did sign an executive order which included student loan relief.) Meanwhile, the 0% interest period and administrative forbearance, unfortunately, are not permanent and will expire.

What This Means for Federal Student Loans

Now is the time to start planning. Over the next couple of months, you'll receive notifications letting you know your post-forbearance options. Most importantly, these notifications will let you know when you need to start making payments again.

Check out your student loan service provider coronavirus and forbearance topics such as the following:

  • Which loans qualify for the 0% rate
  • What will happen to your auto payments if you do nothing
  • How you will know when to start making payments again
  • How your loan payments (if any) made during the forbearance will be applied

Access Your Personalized Loan Tools from StudentAid.gov

  • Sign in to your account with your FSA ID and password to explore a variety of new features
  • View your dashboard to see all the federal student loans and grants you received
  • Use the Loan Simulator to help you make decisions about your loans. Depending on what's best for your situation, you may be able to apply for consolidation or a different repayment plan, such as an income-driven repayment plan.

You Never Have to Pay for Assistance with Federal Student Loans

The scammers are out in droves since the pandemic started. Please avoid student financial aid scams. You never have to pay for assistance with your federal student aid. Your student loan servicer provides free assistance with your questions or concerns about your loan payments.

What about private student loans?

If you have private student loans, the CARES Act's financial relief regrettably doesn't apply to your loans. However, now may be an excellent time to refinance those loans, especially if you have good credit. 

Where can you refinance your private student loan debt?

As soon as you decide to refinance your student loans, check out these lenders. DebtMD partners with many student loan lenders dedicated to helping you get a handle on your student debt. 

All lenders are highly vetted by us and must meet specific standards and qualifications to partner with us. Your data is always secure, and we respect your privacy. 

You still have the choice to select the student loan lender who will benefit you the most. To access our directory of providers, click here.

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