Private Student Loan Relief During the Coronavirus Outbreak in the District of Columbia

Many borrowers in the District of Columbia with private student loans, who're affected by COVID-19, but not covered by the CARES Act, can get payment and other relief.

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.

What Loans Are Covered?

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:

  • Aspire Resources, Inc.
  • College Ave Student Loan Servicing, LLC
  • Earnest Operations
  • Edfinancial
  • Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation
  • MOHELA
  • Navient
  • Nelnet
  • Rhode Island Student Loan Authority
  • SoFi Lending Corp.
  • Tuition Options
  • Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority, and
  • Vermont Student Assistance Corporation

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.

Relief for Borrowers With Qualifying Student Loans In Washington, D.C.

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:

  • not report negative information to the credit reporting bureaus
  • not start any debt collection lawsuits for 90 days, and
  • provide help with enrolling in other borrower aid programs, like income-based repayment plans.

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.

Getting Help

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.

If your student loan servicer isn’t being helpful, you may file a complaint with the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking, and the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Effective date: May 1, 2020