In response to the coronavirus emergency, federal student loan borrowers can put their loans on hold for two months. Interest on those loans is also dropping to zero percent for the same time- 60 days.
In a statement, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said the goal is to provide temporary relief to tens of millions of borrowers.
“These are anxious times, particularly for students and families whose educations, careers, and lives have been disrupted,” DeVos said. “Right now, everyone should be focused on staying safe and healthy, not worrying about their student loan balance growing.”
Student borrowers can currently suspend payments for at least 60 days.
For borrowers who continue to make payments, the full amount of the payment will be applied to the principal amount of the loan, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
“If you make your payments, you’ll get extra credit as it were, and you’ll pay less at the end,” said Jonathan Frutkin from Radix Law. “If you can’t pay or you choose not to pay, it’s totally up to you. You just need to contact your loan servicer. ”
“Keep in mind, this will delay the amount of time until you can start getting loan forgiveness, and so for people with less than ten years, the amount of time you need to pay until you get loan forgiveness is going to push you back two months if you don’t make those payments,” Frutkin added.
Borrowers must contact their loan servicer to request the 60-day administrative forbearance, which is retroactive beginning March 13.
Click here for more information from the U.S. Dept. of Education.