The U.S. Department of Education announced Friday that borrowers with federal student loans will be able to pause their payments for at least two months without interest growing.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a press release that her department is delivering a promise made by President Donald Trump. During a March 13 White House news conference, Trump announced that he would waive interest payments on all federal student loans in an effort to ease the economic stress on Americans caused by the ongoing pandemic.
“These are anxious times, particularly for students and families whose educations, careers, and lives have been disrupted,” said DeVos. “Right now, everyone should be focused on staying safe and healthy, not worrying about their student loan balance growing. I commend President Trump for his quick action on this issue, and I hope it provides meaningful help and peace of mind to those in need.”
Right now, everyone should be focused on staying safe/healthy, not on their student loan balance growing. I commend President @realDonaldTrump for his quick action on this issue, and I hope it provides meaningful help and peace of mind to those who need it most.
— Secretary Betsy DeVos (@BetsyDeVosED) March 20, 2020
According to DeVos, all borrowers with federal student loans will automatically have their interest rates adjusted to zero for at least 60 days, starting March 13. They will also have the option to temporarily stop their regular payments during the 60-day period without any penalty, as long as they contact their loan servicers to request the pause in payments.
The department also suspended federal student loan payments for any borrower more than 31 days delinquent as of March 13, giving borrowers a safety net during the the CCP virus pandemic.
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mishandling allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.
As for those who decide to keep making their monthly payments in full, the department will apply those full payments to their principal balance only, once all student loan interest prior to Trump’s March 13 announcement has been paid.
The move comes shortly after Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled their student loan relief plan as part of a $1 trillion economic stimulus package. The proposal would give DeVos the authority to pause student loan principal payments and interest payments for up to three months. It would also allow her to grant another three months of deferment if necessary, depending on whether Trump’s national emergency declaration would remain in effect.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters on Friday morning that he wanted leaders of both parties to come to an agreement on the package by the end of the day so that the Senate can start the voting process by Monday.
“I task these bipartisan teams to reach agreement by the end of the day today,” said McConnell, reported USA Today. “The Secretary of the Treasury has indicated it’s important for us to be on the Senate floor and to pass the measure on Monday.”