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Attorney General Josh Stein Fights for Emergency Relief for Student Loan Borrowers During COVID-19 Pandemic

For Immediate Release:
Thursday, March 26, 2020

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today called on the U.S. Department of Education to immediately implement emergency measures to protect federal student loan borrowers from further financial burden and debt collection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put students’ financial and educational futures in serious jeopardy,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “They need relief now so they can focus on protecting their health and their families. I urge Secretary DeVos to do what’s right and put these emergency actions in place immediately to protect student borrowers.”

In a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Attorney General Stein and 26 other attorneys general ask the Department of Education to take specific steps to help student loan borrowers who are suffering financially as a result of job losses, lost wages, and the exponential rise in national unemployment over the last few weeks. These steps include:

  • Halting all new and continuing involuntary collection activities, including wage garnishment and the offset of government benefits, such as Social Security and tax refunds, and refunding 2019 tax refund offsets for all federal student loan borrowers for the duration of the crisis.
  • Automatically enrolling all federal student loan borrowers who are in or enter into forbearance, who are or become delinquent on their loans, or who request enrollment in an Income Driven Repayment (IDR) Plan in an IDR plan with a $0-per-month payment, without requiring submission of an IDR application, verification of income, or recertification for the duration of the crisis. This would permit struggling borrowers to suspend payments while continuing to make progress toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness or IDR loan forgiveness.
  • Extending eligibility for all additional relief available pursuant to previously announced modifications for those affected by national emergencies to all federal loan borrowers for the duration of the crisis.

The coalition’s letter urges the Department of Education to extend this emergency relief to all federal student loan borrowers, including borrowers whose Federal Family Education Loans or Federal Perkins loans are not held by the Department of Education.

A copy of the letter is available here.

More on Attorney General Stein’s work to protect North Carolinians during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484


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