Trump said student borrowers won’t have to make loan payments “for at least the next 60 days and if we need more we’ll extend that period of time.”
To obtain the 60-day reprieve, borrowers who have federally held loans will have to make a request of their loan servicers, such as Navient, Nelnet, FedLoan Servicing or Great Lakes, over the phone or online.
But for borrowers who are already more than a month behind on their monthly loan payments, the Trump administration will automatically apply the 60-day suspension.
More than 3.2 million federally-held student loans are more than 31 days delinquent and another 7.7 million are in default, according to the Education Department’s most recent quarterly data.
“These are anxious times, particularly for students and families whose educations, careers, and lives have been disrupted,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement. “Right now, everyone should be focused on staying safe and healthy, not worrying about their student loan balance growing.”
The Trump administration’s announcement comes as Congress is also debating student debt relief as part of negotiations over the massive coronavirus stimulus package, S. 3548 (116).
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan, released on Thursday evening, would allow the Education Department to suspend student loan payments for as long as six months.
But Senate Democrats have said that doesn’t go far enough. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has called for canceling student loan payments made by borrowers during the national emergency and wants to guarantee borrowers at least $10,000 each in total loan forgiveness.
Trump, speaking during a news conference at the White House on Friday, also teased additional announcements on student loans from his administration.
“We have more to come on student loans, more good news for the students but we’ll do that at a different time,” Trump said.
He also said the state testing waivers might be greeted by some K-12 students.
“Probably a lot of students will be extremely happy, some probably not,” Trump said. “The ones that work hard, maybe not, but it’s one of those things. Very unfortunate circumstances.”