Pritzker announces expansion of payment relief for student loan borrowers as COVID-19 cases hit 33,059 statewide

State News

CHICAGO (WMBD) — There are now more than 33,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Illinois.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and public health officials announced 1,551 new cases of the coronavirus disease on Tuesday, as well as 119 more deaths. This brings the total number of deaths to 1,468 statewide.

The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years, across 96 counties.

Pritzker and Secretary Deborah Hagan of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) announced that Illinois has secured relief options with private student loan servicers to expand on the protections the federal government granted to federal student loan borrowers. These new options stand to benefit over 138,000 Illinoisans with privately held student loans.

“I’m happy to announce that, as of today, more student loan borrowers in Illinois will now get relief,” Pritzker said. “IDFPR has worked tirelessly to secure loan relief options with twenty student loan servicers. Impacted borrowers can immediately contact their loan provider to get relief with these new options.”

The federal CARES Act provided relief for students with federal loans, including the suspension of monthly payments, interest, and involuntary collection activity until Sept. 30, however, left out millions of student loan borrowers with federal loans that are not owned by the U.S. government and loans made by private lenders. 

Under this new initiative, Illinoisans with commercially-owned Federal Family Education Program Loans or privately held student loans who are struggling to make their payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible for expanded relief. Borrowers that need assistance have to contact their student loan servicer to identify the options that are appropriate to their circumstances.

Relief options include:

  • Providing a minimum of 90 days of forbearance
  • Waiving late payment fees
  • Ensuring that no borrower is subject to negative credit reporting
  • Ceasing debt collection lawsuits for 90 days
  • Working with borrower to enroll them in other borrower assistance programs, such as income based repayment.

“At this unprecedented time of financial hardship, it was essential to find a way to provide relief to all student loan borrowers who are struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  I’m pleased that we were able to work with several states and servicers to get this done for our Illinois students,” Hagan said.

To determine the types of federal loans they have and who their servicers are, borrowers can visit the Department of Education’s National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at nslds.ed.gov or call the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243 or 1-800-730-8913 (TDD).

Borrowers with private student loans can check the contact information on their monthly billing statements.

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