Coronavirus Student Loan Debt Relief

Coronavirus has impacted many different people in many different ways. People who have contracted the disease or lost family members through it are the ones you feel for the most, and that sympathy extends to the medical professionals putting their lives on the line every day.

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But you also have to feel for the students who have accumulated masses of debt just to get through school, only for their lives to be placed on hold.

Despite being the most affected country, the United States has yet to witness the sort of nationwide school and business closures seen in Europe and China, but it’s getting that way and, as a result, many students are left with escalating debts and without a way to earn.

Fortunately, there are some debt relief options for individuals with mounting student debts during the coronavirus, and that’s what we’ll look at here.

Student Loan Debt Relief Options

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) suspended all student loan payments until September 30, 2020, covering both the interest and principal amounts. The act doesn’t apply to private student loans. However, most lenders are willing to work with borrowers to find solutions during these difficult times, including:

College Ave

College Ave has a dedicated page for anyone struggling with the pandemic. Just email them to explain your situation and make sure you include details such as your name, date of birth, and loan ID, along with everything else mentioned in the linked page.

They promise to respond to your request within 5 business days and to help you in any way they can.


Ascent has announced its intentions to help borrowers during the coronavirus crisis. It hasn’t gone into detail concerning the ways it will help or the people who will qualify to receive such assistance, but if you contact the company directly you can discuss your needs and work with them to find a solution.

The best way to get in touch is to call them. As is the case with all lenders on this page and indeed with all banks, there will be some delays, so be prepared for a long waiting time.

Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank has created numerous resources to help borrowers during the coronavirus. These resources can be found here and include:

  • Branch Details: Find information on if/when your local branch is open and get details on opening and closing times.
  • Online Banking: Discover how to bank on your desktop or mobile device. 
  • Financial Hardship: An important program for anyone struggling with their student loans during the coronavirus pandemic. Once you prove financial hardship you can benefit from deferments and other assistance.
  • FAQs: A detailed list of frequently asked questions, with information concerning general banking, loans, and the coronavirus.


Anyone who has suffered financially as a result of the coronavirus can apply for financial assistance with SoFi. This can be done via your SoFi account page and offers you a deferment of up to 60 days.

For more information, try the SoFi Live Chat feature. It’s a quick and easy way to contact a representative and discuss your issues. There may be long queues and waiting times, but you can keep the window active in the background while you do something else.


CommonBond is offering a special kind of forbearance to many of its customers due to the coronavirus being declared a national emergency. 

Known as Natural Disaster Forbearance, this works in the same way as normal forbearance, allowing you to defer your payments, but it lasts until the end of the emergency and doesn’t interfere with other forbearance options. 

You need to be experiencing hardship to benefit from this offer and can apply through CommonBond’s forbearance page.

Discover Student Loans

Discover is fielding questions from all customers concerning the coronavirus pandemic. It has yet to make an official statement regarding specific offers and relief programs, but like many banks and lenders, it is working on a case by case basis.

Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae is another major lender offering case by case coronavirus assistance programs. You can learn more by calling the company directly or by trying the Live Chat feature on its website. We recommend the latter in the first instance, as the queues are far shorter and you should get a quicker response. If that fails, just give them a call, but prepare to spend the next twenty minutes or so on hold.

Other Student Loan Assistance

Just because your lender isn’t on this list, doesn’t mean you can’t get student loan assistance. The coronavirus has brought a lot of borrowers to their knees and lenders are keen to help them in any way they can.

It only makes sense. After all, the lender doesn’t profit by chasing you for a debt you can’t repay and then selling it for cents on the dollar to a debt collector. 

It also doesn’t want to deal with the inevitable fallout that will come from refusing financial assistance during the worst pandemic in 100 years. You may face a little resistance and may have to jump through a few hoops to get there (including waiting on hold for long periods of time) but if you need assistance you will get it, eventually.

Bottom Line: Coronavirus Student Loan Relief

We’ve written about debt relief extensively on this site, covering everything from forgiveness programs and student loan deferment to refinancing. All these options still apply, but the coronavirus has thrown a spanner in the works, creating new problems and new solutions. For the best assistance, go directly to your lender and see what they can do to help you.

If you have federal loans and can benefit from deferring payments until that September 30 deadline, you may want to consider what you will do after this period has passed. Will you have the money needed to keep making those payments? Do you have enough to build an emergency fund?

You can’t assume that the government will keep bailing you out. It is possible that the pandemic will continue well beyond this deadline and that the CARES act will be extended. But it’s just as likely that it will not and that your responsibilities will return. So, make sure you’re prepared for this date and use this opportunity to save and organize.