MISHAWAKA – Since the signing of the Coronavirus Relief Bill two weeks ago, many college students have quickly become aware that they may not be eligible to receive a check; this leaves college students wondering how they will be able to afford to make loan payments for the semester. Many colleges and universities recognize the need for students to receive financial relief, and Bethel University is currently working on a plan to aid students in this difficult time.
“Our current circumstances have definitely caused challenges for everyone, and our staff and faculty are feeling the weight that our students are carrying,” said Bethel University Director of Financial Aid, Cindi Pederson. “The changes that we have all been faced with have impacted [students’] education, living situations and for many, financial situations. While the full impact of this on everyone's finances is not yet known and while we are praying and believing for God's continued faithfulness and provision, we are working hard to put plans in place to help our students and families any way possible.”
Pederson adds the cabinet is currently working to adjust room and board expenses for eligible students, a plan which they hope to finalize as soon as possible. She added that the university is also waiting for additional guidance from the US Department of Education for possible ways to aid students through the CARES Act. The university is monitoring updates daily in order to implement additional opportunities as soon as possible.
There are specific details available for student loan borrowers; Pederson says that, as part of the CARES Act, all interest on student loans will cease to accrue from the signing of the bill on March 27 through Sept. 30, 2020. In addition, payments for students who have loans in repayment will also be suspended until Sept. 30, 2020. No action is necessary for students to request these forms of relief as loan servicers will automatically implement them. If students have additional questions regarding relief, they may contact their servicer by phone or through the servicer’s website.
Pederson added a word of caution: it is possible we will see a rise in scams that appear to benefit borrowers. She offers a few pieces of advice to avoid scams.
- Be sure to speak to your actual servicer; if you have questions, contact them directly so there is no question as to who is on the other end of the conversation.
- Your servicer will automatically implement these benefits. No one should call you asking for information from you in order to receive these benefits.
- Never give sensitive information out over the phone and use caution when accessing sensitive information online.