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Federal Government

These resources – like the public health crisis itself – are constantly evolving and are only current as to the date of publication. This page was last updated on April 26, 2020.

We recommend that you monitor this site, as well as the sites referenced in these resources, for updates and changes as we expect the situation and solutions to change over the coming weeks and months. For information on specific programs, we encourage you to visit the websites of the organizations or government entities that are responsible for the relief.

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Description of Program and Relief

Federal Student Loan Payment Suspension and Interest Waiver

To provide student borrowers greater financial flexibility during the COVID-19 crisis, the Department of Education has temporarily suspended the obligation to make payments for most federally-owned student loans. Additionally, the interest rate on most federally-owned student loans is temporarily reduced to 0%.

Specifically, the U.S. Secretary of Education has directed loan servicers that administer federally-owned student loans to suspend the obligation to make payments to any borrower with federally-owned loans who requests such relief. This suspension allows borrowers to temporarily suspend payment without becoming delinquent on their loans, effectively “pausing” borrowers’ payment obligations. This optional non-payment period will be effective March 13, 2020 and will continue until at least May 11, 2020. Again, the borrower must request suspension of these payment obligations. If a borrower does not request suspension of payments, they will not receive this relief. However, borrowers who are more than 31 days delinquent as of March 13, 2020, or who become more than 31 days delinquent will automatically have their payment obligations suspended during this period.

Interest rates on all loans owned by the Department of Education are automatically being adjusted to 0%, effective March 13, 2020, and continuing until at least May 11, 2020.

Government or Lead Agency

Department of Education

Dates Available

For those eligible, this relief can begin retroactively from March 13, 2020, and will continue until at least May 11, 2020.

Eligibility Requirements/Restrictions

This relief applies only to federally-owned student loans. Borrowers with student loans from private lenders, including borrowers that have refinanced federal student loans, are not eligible for this relief.

Borrowers with federally-owned student loans who wish to request the suspension of loan payments should contact their loan servicer online or by phone. The interest rate adjustment is automatic, and borrowers are not required to take affirmative steps to benefit from the 0% interest rate.

Contact for More Information

Requests for the suspension of loan payments should not be addressed to the Department of Education, but rather the loan servicer that administers the federally-owned loan. All borrowers who wish to request the two month suspension of loan payments should contact their loan servicer online or by phone.

Borrowers with Federal Perkins or Federal Family Education Loan Program loans that are not federally owned who are interested in benefiting from this relief should refer to the Federal Student Aid website’s Coronavirus announcements page, provided below, for further information.

List of Additional Information

DOE Press Release

© 2021 Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. This does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. In some jurisdictions, this publication may be considered attorney advertising. Past representations are no guarantee of future outcomes.

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