Federal government temporarily suspends student loan payments without penalty

Students walk through the Honor Grove on the College of the Canyons Valencia campus. (Source: COC)
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As economic repercussions continue amid the coronavirus outbreak, President Donald Trump announced Friday a temporary suspension of federal student loan payments without penalty. 

The Department of Education offered details, following the president’s statement, saying that the administration would waive student loan interest for at least the next 60 days, starting retroactively March 13. 

In an effort to offer flexibility amid global health emergencies, each borrower will have the option to suspect their payments for at least two months with no accrued interest. 

“These are anxious times, particularly for students and families whose educations, careers, and lives have been disrupted,” said Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a statement on Friday. “Right now, everyone should be focused on staying safe and healthy, not worrying about their student loan balance growing. I commend President Trump for his quick action on this issue, and I hope it provides meaningful help and peace of mind to those in need.”

Forbearance, an option that already exists but has eligibility requirements, will not take effect automatically, however. Borrowers will have to contact their loan servicer online or by phone, the Dept. of Education said, adding that it has “directed all federal student loan servicers to grant an administrative forbearance to any borrower with a federal held loan who requests one.”  

For additional information, borrowers can visit studentaid.gov/coronavirus and ed.gov/coronavirus.

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