COLLINSVILLE, Ill. – To help alleviate financial strain felt by student loan borrowers who are struggling to make payments due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, is sharing expanded loan relief opportunities.
“The COVID-19 health crisis is causing financial instability and hardship for many families,” said Stuart. “Student loan relief is critical during this time to help free up extra room in the budgets of those that are struggling to get by, and directly impacts the Metro East economy as many residents that graduate from SIUe choose to make their home here.”
The federal CARES Act provided relief for individuals with government-owned federal loans by suspending monthly payments, interest and involuntary collection activity until Sept. 30. The state recently took action in cooperation with 20 student loan servicers and will grant similar protections to over 138,000 Illinoisans with privately held student loans. Those protections may include a minimum of 90 days of forbearance, waiving late payment fees, ensuring that borrowers are not subject to negative credit reporting, ceasing debt collection lawsuits for 90 days and working with borrowers to ensure enrollment in existing programs such as income- based repayment plans. Consumers should contact their servicers directly to learn more about the relief options available to them.
Borrowers may visit the Department of Education’s National Student Loan Data System website at nslds.ed.gov or call the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243 or 1-800-730-8913 (TDD) to determine the types of federal loans they hold and who the servicers are. Borrowers with private student loans can check the contact information on their monthly billing statements.
“As unemployment rates continue to skyrocket, residents facing financial strain should not have to use the limited money they have to make payments on student loans,” continued Stuart. “Instead, they should be able to prioritize their own wellbeing by making sure their mortgage is paid, putting food on the table and ensuring their other essential needs are met.”