DOE Press Release on Coronavirus Forbearance

As previously noted on 8/8/20, President Trump signed an executive order extending the repayment flexibility offered under the CARES act through December 31, 2020. 

Last Friday, the Departmentof Education (ED) and Federal Student Aid (FSA) provided further clarification through this press release

Interest-free period extended

The action extends the actions taken by Secretary DeVos at the start of the national emergency and is maintained under the law by the CARES Act. Effectively, the release confirms that the CARES Act initially scheduled to end on 9/30/20 has been extended to 12/31/20.  

According to the release, all borrowers with federally held student loans will have their payments automatically suspended until 2021 without penalty. The interest rate on all federally held student loans will be set to 0% through the end of the calendar year. 

Non-payments by borrowers working full-time for qualifying employers will count toward the 120 payments required by the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and as payments needed to receive forgiveness under an income-driven repayment plan.

Re-certification requirements 

Of note to many of you is the re-certification requirements under your current IDR plan. ED has updated their borrower resources and now indicates that no borrowers are required to re-certify your plan before December 31, 2020, regardless of whether your re-certification date would have happened before 12/31/20.

Previously ED had indicated that re-certification would be "pushed out" 6 months; however, ED now only shows that the date will be "pushed out," without direction as to when. At this time, it's unknown when re-certifications will be due if they were originally "pushed out"—more info to follow when available.

Some services (particularly FED Loans) have not been adhering to the regulation "pushing out" re-certification. If your re-certification was originally due before 12/31/20, it's imperative that you know your rights. 

You should not be placed on a "post IDR plan" and should not have any interest capitalized (added to your principal), nor should your payment increase! 

Previously ED had stated borrowers would resume their old IDR payments at the conclusion of the forbearance, but that is no longer included in the guidance.

Please keep an eye out for any letter indicating that you have missed your re-certification if that re-certification was between March and the end of the year or if you have a new re-certification date.

FSA is working in partnership with its student loan servicers to notify borrowers of this extension of loan relief measures. This outreach effort will continue through the fall and toward an eventual return to repayment. FSA's servicers are working to make these changes, and borrowers can expect to see this extension reflected in their accounts over the next several weeks.


 

 

Jantz Hoffman, MBA

Written by Jantz Hoffman, MBA

Mr. Hoffman is a Registered Investment Advisor and has been assisting clients with student debt since 2010. He has appeared on PBS Nightly Business Report and been cited in the NY Times as well as other publications as an expert in student loan repayment. Mr. Hoffman received a bachelor’s degree from Humboldt State University and a master’s degree in business from Colorado State University.

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