If you’re still paying off student loan debt, you may have been eyeing the approaching deadline for the payment relief brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, worries over the expiration date can be put to the side, at least until the end of the year. President Donald Trump has extended the student loan relief — originally scheduled to end at the end of September — until Dec. 31, according to a memorandum released Saturday.
The relief includes the suspension of loan payments and an interest rate of 0%.
The decision stemmed from the reality that millions of Americans with lurking student debt remain unemployed and had to accept lower wages and reduced hours as some states continue to enforce social distancing measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
But there’s a catch: Your loan must be “held by” the Department of Education to fall under the relief plan, meaning private loans issued by banks, for example, are excluded.
“This relief has helped many students and parents retain financial stability. And many other Americans have continued to routinely pay down their student loan balances, to more quickly eliminate their loans in the long run,” the memorandum read. “It is therefore appropriate to extend this policy until such time that the economy has stabilized, schools have re-opened, and the crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided.”
The initial call for student loan relief came March 20, seven days after Trump declared COVID-19 a national emergency. The administration says the decision provided “immediate relief to tens of millions of loan borrowers” by placing a temporary forbearance on Americans’ accounts and waiving interest payments.
People who would like to continue making payments can do so, according to the memorandum. Total student loan debt in the country is at $1.56 trillion, with 44.7 million borrowers contributing to it, Forbes reported.
Over the weekend, two other memoranda and one executive order were revealed. The order enhanced unemployment benefits to help millions of jobless residents see $400 a week or more, possibly by the end of the month, McClatchy News previously reported. However, states are expected to cover some of the expenses.
Trump also deferred payroll taxes until at the least the end of the year and extended the moratorium on evictions.