Do You Have To Pay Your Student Loan During COVID-19?

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If you have lost your job or have had your hours cut because of the Coronavirus – you’re not alone. You might be especially worried if you have student loans to pay off. Rest assured that you have options for support.

If you have federal student loans, you can now stop paying your federal student loans for 60 days. Federal student loan interest will be waived as well. For full details on what relief is available, go here.

Many new programs are being initiated to help borrowers in your situation. You could qualify for relief on your student loans to help lighten the burden. More on those options below.

Programs Offered by Most Student Loan Lenders

Most student loan lenders already offer a variety of relief programs. It’s a good idea to get in touch with your provider for more information. Keep in mind that you’ll most likely need concrete evidence of a layoff or shorter hours to qualify. Make sure to ask if they can offer you any of the following plans.

Income-Driven Repayment

Income-driven plans can help you lower your monthly payments to a more manageable percentage of your total income. This is especially useful if your monthly payments take up a significant portion of your income.

Most of the time you can apply for income-driven repayment from your providers website. They ask for you to upload your most recent financial statements, tax returns, and any other evidence you have that shows you are no longer employed or laid-off. 


Some lenders will allow you to defer your payments when you can prove that you’ve suffered a significant financial hardship – like a job loss or reduced hours. Your interest won’t accrue if you have federal student loans or Perkins loans.


Forbearance is similar to deferment – both will allow you to postpone your student loan payments when you can’t afford them. The main difference is that your interest might accrue if your loan provider is private.

What Are Lenders Doing to Help?

The government has announced relief plans for federally backed student loans as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. All federal student loans will automatically have 0% interest rates for at least 60 days. Meaning, borrowers will also be able to suspend their payments for two months – without interest. If you plan to suspend your payments, you will need to request deferment from your provider.

If your student loans are from a private lender, make sure to contact them directly to learn about relief opportunities. Let’s explore some of the ways major lenders are helping borrowers manage student loans.

Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae has instituted different relief options for borrowers that have been financially impacted by the Coronavirus. Relief is determined on a case by case basis once a borrower gets in contact – either online or by calling 800-472-5543.

Citizens Bank

Citizens bank announced that it will offer a special three-month forbearance that will not count against lifetime forbearance limits. To request forbearance or find out more information, make sure to contact a student lending advisor by calling 888-411-0266.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is offering different loan modification programs for borrowers that may have trouble making payments. Borrowers may be able to lower payments or receive forbearance. Make sure to call 1-800-658-3567 or visit their website for more information.

PNC Bank

PNC is willing to assist student loan borrowers on a case by case basis. The bank recommends borrowers impacted by the Coronavirus call 1-888-762-2265.


Earnest, an online student loan provider, is offering its borrowers that have been affected by coronavirus rate reduction and forbearance programs. You’ll have to reach out their customer service directly to request relief.  

College Ave

College Ave, another online student loan provider, may allow borrowers an additional grace period of six months following graduation. Borrowers may also be able to request up to an additional 12 months of forbearance over the life of their loan. You’ll need to get in touch with them directly to learn more.

Relief is Available

Millions of Americans have been affected financially by the Coronavirus outbreak. The good news is that assistance is available. Whether your student loans are government or privately backed – you have options. Now is the time to get in touch with your student loan provider to explain your situation and ask how they can offer help.

Even with relief from your student loans, you might still need additional support to cover all your expenses. MoneyLion is a low-cost financing option with same-day loans up to $1000 and0% APR cash advances. We understand times are difficult and everyone could use some help getting cash. Find out more about what MoneyLion can offer you.

For more resources, keep checking the COVID-19 section of our blog here. We’ll be updating it with new information regularly.

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