Recent data shows that 44.7 million Americans carry $1.71 trillion in total U.S. student loan debt. For the time being, payments on those loans can wait, and interest will not accrue.
On Jan. 20, the White House posted the following statement:
“At the request of President Biden, the Acting Secretary of Education will extend the pause on federal student loan payments and collections and keep the interest rate at 0%. Too many Americans are struggling to pay for basic necessities and to provide for their families. They should not be forced to choose between paying their student loans and putting food on the table.”
Relief During The Pandemic
This pause is an extension of relief that started last year. On March 20, 2020, the Federal Student Aid office began suspending loan payments, stopping collections on defaulted loans and offering a 0% interest rate for federally-held student loans. One week later, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) became law, providing relief measures through Sept. 30, 2020. President Biden’s order extends the freeze on interest rates and payments through Sept. 30, 2021.
Who Is Affected?
The 0% interest rate only applies to the following types of federal student loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) office of Federal Student Aid, even while you are in school.
- Defaulted and non-defaulted Direct Loans;
- Defaulted and non-defaulted FFEL Program loans;
- Defaulted and non-defaulted Federal Perkins Loans;
- Defaulted HEAL loans.
Private student loans, FFEL Program and HEAL loans owned by commercial lenders, and Perkins Loans owned by an institution are not eligible for this benefit.
Eligible loan accounts were adjusted automatically effective March 13, 2020. Also, any payment you made during the suspension of payments can be refunded by contacting the servicer.
To find out if ED owns your loans, visit StudentAid.gov/login, sign in with your FSA ID, and select “view details” to view your Aid Summary. Check the Loan Breakdown to see the loan servicer name. Any starting with “Dept of ED” are owned by ED. You can also call 1-800-4-FED-AID.
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