The government’s response to the pandemic could accelerate the trend for companies to offer student loans as a perk.
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Most student loan borrowers will not have to start paying their debts again until January 2021.
With Republicans and Democrats locked in a stalemate on someone else’s details Coronavirus Stimulus package, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Earlier this month, which gave those with student debt another three-month break from their bills during which no interest accrues.
It remains to be seen whether another stimulus package in Congress will provide more relief to student loan borrowers. House Democrats, in theirs $ 3 trillion HEROES Act, called to extend the payment break until September 30, 2021.
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In the meantime, most borrowers should be off the hook by at least early next year.
Still, questions remain unanswered.
Should Everyone Stop Paying Their Student Loans? What does this mean if you are going for public service loans? (This program was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007 and allows certain nonprofit and government employees to cancel their federal student loans after 10 years.)
“I was probably asked 105 different ways, ‘Are you sure this counts for the PSLF?'” Said Betsy Mayotte, president of The Institute for Student Loan Advisors, a non-profit organization that helps student loan borrowers with free advice and dispute resolution.
CNBC spoke to student loan experts who were monitoring the news. Here’s what you know so far.
No. The payment break will be extended automatically until December 31, 2020. If your loans are eligible for reparation, you shouldn’t have to go to your service technician to apply for them – unlike what is normal in education Forbearance and respite.
In other words, “borrowers don’t have to do anything,” Mayotte said.
Most student loans qualify for coronavirus forbearance, but some do not, he said Elaine Griffin Ruby, Senior Contributor and Communication Specialist at Edvisors.
However, Federal Family Education Loans (FFELs) and Perkins loans are only eligible if they are held “at the federal level,” said Will Sealy, co-founder and CEO of summerwhat helps people manage their loan repayment.
When there is confusion, borrowers can Go to the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Website to find out their loan type and lender. When a loan is “federally held”, the lender is listed as a US Department of Education.
You can also call your servicer or 1-800-4-FED-AID to find out if your loans are eligible.
As part of these plans, student loan borrowers’ monthly bills are capped to a portion of their income, and some payments are as low as $ 0. The government forgives any remaining debt after 20 to 25 years, although there can be a heavy tax burden in the end.
These plans could be a lifeline for borrowers struggling amid Covid-19, Sealy said. If your income has dried up, you should let your lender know so that it can be Recalculate your monthly obligation.
And if you take advantage of the payment hiatus on one of these plans, time still counts for your eventual debt relief.
If you are a teacher, government official, or any other civil servant with student loans, you should definitely take advantage of the student loan grace period.
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Each Coronavirus Forbearance Month continues to count towards the 120 payments you need to cancel your PSLF debt. That means that if you are a teacher, government official, or any other official with student loans, you definitely want to take advantage of the relief.
“If you pay now when you chase PSLF, it’s like throwing your money in the bathroom,” Mayotte said.
If you lose your job because of Covid-19, you should “look for a new public service job immediately,” said Kantrowitz.
“Payments are only counted towards public service lending if the borrower is employed full-time in a skilled public service job,” he said.
The government is also stopping garnishments of wages, social security checks, and tax refunds from defaulted borrowers for student loans until next year.
“If your wages are still garnished, contact your human resources department, as they should stop doing that,” said Kantrowitz.
If you’re worried other offsets persist, call the education department, Kantrowitz said Standard resolution group at 1-800-621-3115.
That is an understandable concern. Student loan service providers are known Making mistakes and even giving out incorrect information.
To make sure your lender doesn’t charge you interest during this payment break, take a screenshot of your balance today to make sure it’s not growing and to have evidence in case you need to show your lender.
“Given that servicers do not have the best track record of keeping accurate records, we encourage borrowers to save copies of their monthly credit statements in case unexpected discrepancies arise,” added Sealy.
What you do with that extra money, of course, depends on your particular circumstances. Many families now need this money for basic necessities such as food and medicine.
However, if you are a little more flexible, you should try paying off your high-yield debt, such as paying off. B. on a credit card, Sealy said. Or you might consider keeping the extra money in an emergency savings account, as we don’t yet know when life will return to some form of normal.
Investing the money, especially in a retirement account, would also be a smart idea.