Money Matters | National

CARES Act suspends federal student loans for six months, through Sept. 30

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law on March 27 provides automatic suspension of principal and interest payments on federally held student loans from March 13 through Sept. 30.

There is no fee to suspend your loans and you do not need to apply to have your federal student loans placed in this suspension, known as “administrative forbearance.” Your federal student loan servicer will suspend all interest and payments without any action from you.

If you made a payment toward your federally held student loans after March 13, you can request a refund from your student loan servicer. However, if you are financially able to continue making payments on your student loans, any payments you make after March 13 will be applied directly to principal. This will help you pay off your loans faster.

Is your loan included?

The benefits authorized by the CARES Act do not apply to private (non-federal) student loans. But many private student loan lenders are offering extended forbearance options and other benefits. Contact your lender or servicer for more information.

Also, be aware that not all federal student loans are held by the Department of Education. Some loans under the Federal Family Education Loan program are owned by commercial lenders, and some Perkins Loans are held by the institution or school you attended. Your FFEL lender or school may choose to suspend interest and payments on a voluntary basis, but they are not required by law to do so. Contact your servicer to find out if these options are available to you.

Not sure who services your loans?

For federal student loans, find your servicer by visiting the Department of Education website at For private student loans, look at your latest billing statement or check your credit report. You are entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major consumer reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Request a copy at or call (877) 322-8228.

For more information, visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website at