If you’re in college or have recently graduated and have student loans, you may be wondering how your loans and financial aid will be affected in the coming months in response to the coronavirus. Do you have to apply? How do you apply for coronavirus relief? What will you receive? We cover the needed info here.
Some Assistance is Automatic
In response to the coronavirus, much of the assistance a college student or recent graduate can receive is already in place. For example, all federal student loan payments have been automatically stopped between March 13th, 2020 and September 30th, 2020. Students can still make payments if they wish, but it is not required and there will be no penalty for non-payment.
Interest rates have also been set at 0% for the same period of time for defaulted and non-defaulted Direct Loans, defaulted and non-defaulted FFEL Program loans, and Federal Perkins Loans.
What if You Have Private Loans?
The solutions listed above are only for federal loans. If you have private loans, you’ll have to talk to your bank or lender about options including forbearance. Some are offering solutions for those hit by the coronavirus and others already had hardship options in place. Reach out to them as soon as possible to see what they’re offering, as each institution is different.
Talk to Financial Aid Offices
If you are in a situation where your parents or yourself have lost jobs due to the coronavirus and are having issues paying for school, don’t hesitate to reach out to your college’s financial aid office. They may have options for you. A leave of absence is also something to consider, especially if your family is quarantined or sick.
As with banks, each college is different, so make sure you reach out to the appropriate people to determine what your school is offering. If you can’t get a hold of the financial aid office, try reaching out to the college on social media.
Independent Students Can Qualify for the Stimulus
If you’re an independent student or over 24, filed taxes, and have an income less than $75,000, you can qualify for the CARES act and receive the stimulus check of $1,200. If you’re married and the combined income is less than $150,000, you and your spouse will receive $2,400. You will also receive $500 per child, if you have children.
If you’re under 24, your parents may have included you as a dependent on the last tax return, and therefore, you will not receive the stimulus check. This varies from student to student, so check to see how your last tax return was filed to get an accurate picture of what you will receive.
How to Apply for Coronavirus Relief
For most students, coronavirus financial assistance will be automatic, but it will vary from person to person. If you’re not sure what resources are available to you, make sure to reach out to your financial aid, lenders or banks, and parents to see how things are structured for you.