COVID-19: Impact on Students, Borrowers, and More

As we continue to navigate the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic, the well-being of students, families, and our partners is our priority at FAME. The impacts of COVID-19 on students and borrowers continue to change. We will monitor for new developments and make updates to this page when needed.

What do I need to know about my student loans?

What is the current status of Federal Student Loans?

Student loan interest is frozen on all federally held student loans through September 30, 2020 (for both currently enrolled students and borrowers in repayment).

Payments are suspended on all federally held loans through September 30, 2020. Borrowers in income-based repayment plans or Public Service Loan Forgiveness will still have these months count toward their total qualifying payments even if they are not making payments. Please keep in mind this suspension is not payment cancellation or forgiveness, but is a forbearance.

Involuntary collections such as wage garnishment, tax refund reductions, and reductions of federal benefits like Social Security benefits are also suspended until September 30, 2020.

What is a federally held student loan? All Direct Loans are federally held, as are some Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) and some Federal Perkins Loans. However, some older FFEL are privately held and some Federal Perkins Loans are held by individual schools, not the federal government. To determine if your FFEL and Perkins Loans are federally held, log in to StudentAid.gov with your FSA ID and check who is listed as the lender on the loan. If you have never created your FSA ID username and password, start by clicking on “Create Account.” Borrowers with non-federally held loans who are having trouble making payments should contact their loan servicer.

For more information visit Coronavirus and Forbearance Info for Students, Borrowers, and Parents at StudentAid.gov.

What can I do if I’m having trouble making payments on my private student loans?

Borrowers who are having trouble making payments as a result of COVID-19 should contact their private loan servicer.

Who do I call about payments on my FAME-administered loans? If borrowers who have loans through any of the following programs are having difficulty making payments as a result of COVID-19, they should contact FAME’s Education Team at 1-800-228-3734, Option 1: Maine Medical Association Loan, Educators for Maine, Maine Dental Education Loan, Maine Veterinary Medicine Loan, or the Health Professions Loan Program.

Additional information:

What can you tell me about Economic Impact Payments (Stimulus Checks) from the Federal Government?

All U.S. residents with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 ($150,000 married), who are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work eligible social security number, may be eligible for the full $1,200 ($2,400 married) payment. In addition, they may be eligible for an additional $500 per child, aged 16 and under. Payment amounts gradually phase out for those with higher incomes.

Payments may be available even for those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from non-taxable means-tested benefit programs, such as SSI benefits.

Visit IRS.gov for more information.

  • The total payment amount is based on the adjusted gross income from the most recent taxes on file, 2019 or 2018, and will be delivered by the method on file with the IRS to deliver the refund, direct deposit or paper mail.
  • Young adults 17 or older who are claimed as a dependent on someone else’s taxes will not receive check.
  • Individuals must have a Social Security number to be eligible to receive a check.
  • Non-tax filers who appear to meet the eligibility criteria (eligible U.S. citizens or permanent residents with gross income that did not exceed $12,200 or $24,400 for married couples for 2019) but who were not otherwise required to file a federal income tax return for 2019, and didn’t plan to, should visit IRS.gov. On the IRS site, individuals can provide information to the IRS so that eligibility can be determined and a payment sent, if eligible. For more information, watch this video from the CFPB.

My college refunded some of my charges and now I have a credit on my account. What should I do?

Students who have a credit balance as a result of charges being refunded should contact their college or university for additional information.

What if some of the expenses my school refunded me were originally paid for with 529 funds? 

Generally, students and parents who receive refunds for tuition, room and board, or other qualified expenses that were originally paid for by 529 funds can re-contribute their refund back into their 529 plan account within 60 days of the date of the refund to avoid paying any penalty or taxes on the earnings. However, under temporary IRS guidance, if that 60-day period ends on or after April 1, 2020 and before July 15, 2020, then the recontribution can be made any time before July 15, 2020. Contact your 529 account administrator for additional information on the taxes implications of any refunds and/or recontributions or other considerations.

I’m a college student struggling with a financial emergency. Can my school help me?

Students experiencing a financial emergency should contact their higher education institution to see if help is available. Pending implementation, institutions will be able to use Supplementary Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG) funds as emergency aid. Institutions will also receive funding from the Federal Education Stabilization Fund and are required to use some of that funding toward emergency aid.

What happens if I can no longer work at my Federal Work-Study job?

Institutions have the option to continue paying students their Federal Work-Study wages even if the students are unable to perform their work duties. Students who have left campus and are no longer reporting to their Work-Study jobs should contact their supervisor and/or financial aid office to inquire about continuing to be paid if they haven’t already received information on this topic.

If I have to take a leave of absence, will it affect my future Pell Grant eligibility or my Satisfactory Academic Progress status?

Students who need to take a leave of absence may do so without negatively impacting their Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) for Federal Pell Grants or Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) so long as they follow the proper procedure.

Please note that since this legislation is just being finalized, there may be a time delay for campuses implementing the changes. Further, each educational institution has discretion over emergency aid funds and paying Work-Study wages, but must grant SAP and LEU flexibility for those who withdraw.