Student loans coronavirus information centre

Explore more about Student loan repayment, Federal student loans suspended,Handling finance,Refinancing student loans during the crisis,Parent student loans repayment,PSLF during coronavirus,Stimulus check,College admissions,Scams

Updated by Aparna A on 12th August 2020

COVID-19 pandemic has affected all areas of our lives. The health department, education, ministry, etc, all have made changes to their functioning sectors and everyone has to adapt to the changing conditions. These changes affect the education department like student loans, repayments, new rules /options for repayment, and how repayments are to be handled during the pandemic. Here are details on how to manage your student loan debt. 

 
Table of contents
 

Student loan repayment during the coronavirus pandemic

The department of education has announced that all federal student loans will be moved to administrative forbearance. All repayments are banned till September 2020 with a 0% interest rate. All repayment loan collection for default loans is also stopped. ED is keeping a close track of the pandemic situation to take an informed decision to extend the administrative forbearance period. The above details are concerning federal student loans owned by the ED. Private student loans also have come with repayment plans to help its borrowers during these testing times. Contact the servicers to get more details about the assistance they provide.

A list of services are mentioned below: To get more information on assistance provided to contact the servicers. 

 

1. Access Group Education Lending

Contact details : 

Phone 866-610-3660

Email general@accessgroup.org

 

2. College Ave 

Contact details :

Phone 844-422-7502

Email collegeaveservicing.com

 

3. Discover

Contact details : 

Phone 1 (800) 788-3368

Email service@email.discover.com

 

4. CommonBond 

Contact details : 

Phone 844.318.0166

Email care@commonbond.co

 

5. Nelnet 

Contact details : 

Phone 888.486.4722

Email Help@Nelnet.net

 

6. Citizens Bank:

Contact details : 

Phone 1-888-411-0266

Email: For disputes is disputes@citizensbank.com

 

7. Education loan finance 

Contact details : 

Phone 1-844-601-ELFI (3534)

Email answers@ELFI.com

 

8. EdvestinU 

Contact details : 

Phone (855) 887-5430

Email Not mentioned

 

9. Ascent student loans :

Contact details : 

Phone 877-216-0876

Email info@askASCENT.org

 

10. Earnest 

Contact details : 

Phone (888)601-2801

Email  hello@earnest.com

 

11. LendKey

Contact details : 

Phone 888-549-9050

Email customer.care@lendkey.com

 

12. MEFA

Contact details : 

Phone (800) 449-6332

Email mefaloans@mefa.org

 

13. Navy Federal credit union:

Contact details : 

Phone 1-888-842-6328

Email phishalert@navyfederal.org

 

14. HeartLand ECSI

Contact details : 

Phone (888) 549-3274

Email Not mentioned 

 

15. HESAA

Contact details : 

Phone (609) 584-4480

Email servicingandcollections@hesaa.org

 

16. PNC 

Contact details : 

Phone 1 (888) 762-2265

website www.aessuccess.org

 

18. iHelp

Contact details : 

Phone 800) 592-1270

Email  service@slfc.com

 

19. Navient 

Contact details : 

Phone (888) 272-5543

Email collegeserv@navient.com

 

20.Prodigy Finance : 

Contact details : 

Phone +44 (0) 20 7193 2832

Email info@prodigyfinance.com

 

21. SoFi 

Contact details : 

Phone 1 (855) 456-7634

Email customerservice@sofi.com

 

22. Wells Fargo

Contact details : 

Phone 1 (800) 869-3557

Email Not mentioned

 

23. U-Fi 

Contact details : 

Phone 844.307. 3451 

Email Support@U-fi.com

 

24. RISLA 

Contact details : 

Phone (800) 758-7562

Email customerservice@risla.com

 

25. Sallie Mae :

Contact details : 

Phone 1 (800) 472-5543

Email Must have an account to email


Federal student loans payment suspended during COVID-19

All the student loans owned by ED are moved to administrative forbearance were interest rates have been reduced to 0%.  Most of the loans are covered except for commercially held loans and the ones owned by your college. Example: Perkins loans.

If you are unaware of the type of loan and if your eligibility, log in to the FSA website. So that you can take advantage of the benefits the education department is providing. If you are still not sure, you can contact your servicer or the financial aid office at your college/school. If you find yourself having commercial or school-granted loans that are not eligible for the relief.

1. Contact your servicer /lender to know their relief programs, most private lenders are providing forbearance period for 3 - 12 months to assist their borrowers. 

2. You can consolidate your loans to the ones that are eligible for the relief funds. 

3. Refinancing is also an option to consider to lower your interest rates. 

4. Some lenders allow you to make half payments. Contact your servicers to receive detailed information. 

5. A pause can be provided if you manage to prove your economic hardship to receive disaster-related forbearance. 

6. Top private lenders like Discover provided Temporary payment reduction.

7. Navient and a few other private lenders have reduced their interest rates to 0%, to support their borrowers. 

8. Few state governments are providing additional aid for struggling students to pay loans. 

9. If your income has been affected due to the pandemic, then apply for an Income-Sensitive Repayment plan to reduce the percentage of your annual income and recalculate your payment annually. 

10. You can consolidate your loans to the ones owned by ED to receive the relief funds, and apply for IDR and be eligible for PSLF later. 

11. Make sure you receive the help provided by the government else report to human resources for your rights. 


Handling money during this pandemic 

If you are among those who lost their job or paid less during the COVID-19 outbreak, please consider the following for better financial stability. 

1. If you are suffering to meet basic needs, CCUSA catholic charities have food banks giving meals to all, including children, schools, etc. 

2. Modest needs provide grants in cases like a short term financial crisis.

3. While traveling may be shut down during the pandemic, the locals depending on public service for transport can be at risk. Therefore, there are free charity car services provided for the same.

4. Gradient gives back the foundation and helps you pay rents. They provide a mortgage and help with paying your lease.

5.Net wish provides you small gift cards with the money of 200 dollars or even less, it's a small help in case of any emergency. Kindness is always appreciated. 

6. During any emergencies like food and medicines, you can contact the 24/7 customer service in the united way 211 for help. 

7. In college, when you are assigned to a professor, he helps you to pick the right subjects during the course and later can also help you find a job, providing you with a recommendation letter.

8. The financial aid office at college can help you with details related to your student loans, repayments, etc. 

9. College provides career services to help you plan your future. 

10. While you spend time working hard at college, the health and wellness department provide assistance like counseling centers. 

11. Crisis centers help students with serious emergencies with mental health. 

12. If you don't find yourself safe inside the campus, you can contact the public safety centers.

13. For research purposes, you can always take help from the tutor at college to write papers in the field of maths or science, etc.

14. Student office services are provided for international students to settle in the country.

15. In case you face Eviction, you don't need to worry! On receiving an eviction, go to the court - try paying the full payment or ask for negotiation in the amount. Hire an attorney who can assist you with legal matters. If needed, it's advised to seek financial help even if you're facing a crisis for a few months. But it's always important that your basic needs are met.

16. There are multiple opportunities to work online during the pandemic. There is multiple work from home online job opportunities you can look for. There are jobs like social media marketing, writing jobs, providing online courses, etc.

17.  Several apps provide you cashback on purchasing online or provide you a case for performing particular tasks Example. -Foap, Ibotta, Swagbucks, etc

18. You can enroll in an online Social media manager, blogger, Web designing, college counselor, virtual assistant, social media influencer, etc. Increasing your income can decrease your student loan debts.

The above measures can be considered to provide you assistance during this pandemic. 


Refinancing student loans during the crisis

It is a good option to refinance your student loans if they are private loans. You will be able to manage your payments with lower interest rates. If the pandemic has affected you financially you should consider refinancing your loans to federal loans, as the payments for federal student loans have been suspended till September 2020. To refinance your private loans, contact your private lenders to do so. Also, note that private lenders have reduced the interest rates to help their borrowers.  SoFi, earnest, and commonbond are good options if you are considering refinancing. 


Parent student loans repayment 

Being a responsible parent, if you have applied loans for your children's education, these relief funds are extended to parent loans too, as long as your loans are owned by the ED. You are still eligible for forgiveness, payments have been stopped during the administrative forbearance period, collection for delinquent loans is also stopped for a while. Interest rates have been waived off for a couple of months. All collections including for default loans have been stopped. With all these relief programs, your federal student loans you are still eligible for forgiveness. Make sure to contact your private loan lenders, as top lenders are also providing relief programs in the form of low-interest rates, disaster forbearance, etc. If you still wish to pay during the administrative forbearance period you can call the lenders and make manual payments. The Cares Act provides employees with assistance to pay off their student loan debt faster. Tax-free benefits are provided for 5,250 dollars for student loan repayment assistance. You are also eligible to receive stimulus relief checks.


PSLF during coronavirus

The Financial Protection Bureau said that even during the administrative forbearance period, Public Service Loan Forgiveness or other federal forgiveness programs are still considered if your payments are made on time. IBR, ICR, Student loan forgiveness for nurses, Loan forgiveness for doctors in the Armed Forces, Teacher Loan Forgiveness all are considered during this time period. 


Stimulus check

If your parents claim you as dependent on the tax benefit, you are unlikely to receive a stimulus. If not, in certain cases if you are proven financially independent, the government may consider you for stimulus checks. You may also receive other funds from your college in the form of financial aid. Betsy DeVos announced additional funds that schools can use to help students during the pandemic. An amount of  6.28 billion dollars was given to schools to support students with course materials, technology, child care, etc. Ideally, if you are 24, and doing a work-study job you will get a need-based federal supplementary grant from your college. Some colleges are also issuing refunds as classes are mostly done online. 

 
Eligibility as per CARES act to receive a stimulus check
 
  1. Individuals who earned 75,000 or less in the previous year will receive 1,200 dollars.

  2. A married couple who earned 150,000 dollars or less will receive$2,400

  3. The government will provide 500 dollars for each dependent under the age of 17


College admissions during the pandemic

The admission process may differ from each school, and their respective details are to be checked on the school websites. Common tests are SAT, ACT that has been postponed this year. And most applicants may not be required to write tests. Due to the pandemic, the high school students are advised to take AP tests online. Since the admission process is delayed students get more time to pick the college they want to study in. Most colleges plan on providing their courses online. 


Student loans scams during coronavirus 

No student loan relief is provided in exchange for a fee! if you receive such calls, it possibly can be a student loan scam. To get your loans in forbearance, change of repayment plans, loan forgiveness no fee is to be charged. Also, note that your lenders will not call you to provide relief programs, you must contact the support team and enquire and apply for it. Also, note that no fees to be charged for loan discharge due to physical disability. Ideally, no lenders ask for application fees or personal information like Social Security number or Federal Student Aid ID, by providing such personal details can lead to identity theft. If you find yourself a victim of student loan scams - raise a complaint with an attorney general. Contact your loan servicer alerting them. Submit a complaint to the U.S. Department of Education by contacting them. File a complaint with the  Federal Trade Commission. If you have given your information to scammers, cancel your credit cards and order a new one, so that you don't lose your money.