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.

Please note: Your safety and that of our employees is of utmost importance to us. Please call or email FAME for service as our office is closed to visitors due to COVID-19.

UPDATED: What do I need to know about my student loans?

What is the current status of Federal Student Loans?

Update: The below reflects the extension of loan repayment flexibility through Dec. 31, 2020. The flexibility was originally scheduled to expire on September 30, 2020 but on Aug. 8, 2020, President Trump directed the Secretary to continue to suspend loan payments, stop collections, and waive interest on ED-held student loans until Dec. 31, 2020.

Student loan interest is frozen on all federally held student loans through December 31, 2020 (for both currently enrolled students and borrowers in repayment).

Payments are suspended on all federally held loans through December 31, 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 December 31, 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. Maine Loan borrowers having difficulty making payments should contact FirstMark Services or FAME’s Education Team to discuss payment options. Borrowers through other lenders listed on theloanforme.com should contact American Education Services at 1-800-233-0557 to discuss payment options.

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. We are able to offer COVID-19 related accommodations on these programs through December 31, 2020.

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.