CRANSTON, RI — Rhode Islanders with student loan debt have several relief options available to them during the coronavirus pandemic, Attorney General Peter Neronha said Tuesday. The federal coronavirus stimulus law protects students borrowers with protections that will remain in place until September 30 and are retroactive to March 13.
“People are suffering right now. Student loan payments can exacerbate an already stressful situation, especially if people find themselves out of work because of this crisis,” Neronha said. “Our Office is working to make sure that people know about the protections that are available to them. Our consumer protection team is ready to assist borrowers with any dispute resolution issues they might encounter.”
In Rhode Island, more than 130,000 people owe a total of $4.5 billion in student loan debt. The following protections are available:
- Payment postponement: Those with federally held loans will automatically receive a six-month forbearance, effective March 13. Any automatic or voluntary payments made during this time can be refunded. To do so, contact your loan servicer.
- Interest waiver: During the six-month forbearance, no new interest will accrue on federal loans.
- Collection: All collection activities, including wage garnishment and reduction of tax refunds, will be suspended.
- Credit: No negative credit information will be reported to the credit reporting agencies during the suspension period regarding eligible loans. Loan servicers cannot report the payments as “late” or “missed.”
The federal CARES act does not apply to private loans, but many loan servicers are choosing to offer protections. Contact your servicer for more information.