Finance & Career
For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about financial instability and concerns. Some people lost their jobs, either temporarily or permanently, causing financial stress. This stress left many people wondering how they were going to make ends meet. Luckily, for those who have a student loan through the US Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid, payments and interest accumulation stopped during the pandemic.
Originally announced in March, the secretary of education directed the office to suspend loan payments, stop collections on defaulted loans, and set interest rates to zero percent for a period of 60 days. Later in March, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed by Congress extended those relief measures through the end of September. In August, the president further these measures through the end of December.
How This Affects You
Because of these measures, you are not required to make payments toward your federal student loans until January 1, 2021. Until that time, there is also no interest accumulating on the loans. Payments you would have normally made will still count toward Income Driven Payments (IDR) plan loan forgiveness. They will also count toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). If you are already making voluntary payments, nothing changes. If you have any lingering questions or concerns about these relief measures, contact your loan provider. For more information, visit the Department of Education website studentaid.gov.
Alabama Extension has many financial resources that can help people during this time. To find these resources, visit the Finance and Career section of the Extension website www.aces.edu.