On May 1, 2020, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that many borrowers who have private student loans and commercially-owned Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program loans can get financial relief during the COVID-19 national emergency. This initiative covers borrowers who aren't protected by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and provides qualifying borrowers with forbearance and other financial assistance.
District of Columbia residents with privately-held student loans or commercially-owned FFELs who are struggling to make their payments and whose servicer is listed below are eligible for assistance. (The federal CARES Act, on the other hand, applies to Direct Loans, as well as FFEL loans, but only those FFEL loans that are owned by the U.S. Department of Education—not FFELs that are owned by other entities. Borrowers with private student loans and Perkins Loans held by entities other than the Department of Education also don't get relief under this federal law.)
Participating servicers include:
Additional servicers might be added later. So, if you're facing a financial hardship due to COVID-19, it's a good idea to contact your servicer and ask what kind of aid is available—even if you don't see your servicer on this list.
If your loans are eligible and COVID-19 has impacted you, you can get a minimum 90-day forbearance on payments and a waiver of late payment fees.
Also, the servicer must:
Don't just stop making your payments, though. You have to contact your servicer and ask for assistance. To find out which company services your private student loans, check the contact information on your monthly billing statements.
If you have concerns regarding student loans and live in Washington, D.C., you may contact the District of Columbia's Student Loan Ombudsman at 202-727-8000 or DCLoanHelp@dc.gov. The Ombudsman can provide information and guidance on many issues related to student debt.
Effective date: May 1, 2020