Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Student Loans

Last Updated On: 4/22/2020 5:48:04 PM

What can I do if I can’t pay my federal student loans?

In March 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which includes temporary help for borrowers with certain types of federal student loans. This may apply to you if your loan is currently owned by the U.S. Department of Education.

All payments on these types of federal loans are suspended (stopped) from March 13, 2020 until September 30, 2020. The suspension is automatic. This means you do not have to ask for it. During the suspension of payments, no interest will be added on these types of student loans. For more information, go to the U.S. Deptartment of Education Office of Federal Student Aid website

What if I am in default on my federal student loans? Will my wages or stimulus check be taken?

Because of the CARES Act, the U.S. Department of Education is temporarily stopping collection efforts on defaulted federal student loans. This includes stopping wage garnishments, social security offsets, and seizing tax refunds until September 30, 2020.  Also, the stimulus checks that are part of the CARES Act will not be seized to pay defaulted federal student loans.

Go here for more information: https://frostbrowntodd.com/federal-student-loans-under-the-cares-act-borrower-and-employer-guidance/  

Are private student loans eligible for help?  

If you have private student loans and can’t make payments, contact your loan servicer as soon as possible. Many student loan servicers are offering options that may help borrowers during this difficult time.  

What if I am currently enrolled in a West Virginia college, technical school, or community college, and have state-based scholarships?

There are some temporary changes to West Virginia-based scholarships and grants due to the coronavirus.

If you are already enrolled in a college or university in West Virginia and currently receive state-based scholarships and grants, there are no GPA requirements to renew the PROMISE Scholarship, Higher Education Grant, Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship, and Engineering, Science & Technology Scholarship, from 2019-20 to 2020-21.

If you are enrolled in a community college or technical school, and currently receive a West Virginia Invests Grant, there is no community service requirement for spring 2020 awards and no GPA requirements to renew the grant for the 2020-21 academic year.

If you have more questions, please visit www.cfwv.com or contact your school’s financial aid office.  More information is available on the website for the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commision or watch this recorded training outlining the changes.

If you are a West Virginia student with financial aid questions or if you need help with the FAFSA, you can also e-mail the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission at wvfinancialaid@wvhepc.edu.   

What if I am a high school senior and am applying for state-based financial aid or the Promise Scholarship for the fall of 2020?

The deadline for West Virginia’s Higher Education Grant, the state’s need-based financial aid program, has been moved from April 15, 2020, to May 15, 2020.  The GPA requirement for students seeking the Promise and the Higher Education Grant for the first time has not changed.

With national ACT and SAT testing currently postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students will now be able to qualify for PROMISE for the fall semester by taking an ACT or SAT test by the end of October 2020. Students also will be able to use scores from residual tests, which are the same as the national ACT or SAT but administered, scored, and accepted by state colleges. You should check with cfwv.com for any additional information.

Federal financial aid information is available at studentaid.gov.

If you are a West Virginia student with financial aid questions or if you need help with the FAFSA, you can also e-mail the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission at wvfinancialaid@wvhepc.edu. 

This is general legal information. For guidance about your situation, talk to a lawyer.