Private Student Loan Relief During the COVID-19 Pandemic

A student working at a table on her laptop in a coffee shop

In March, President Donald Trump announced several measures to ease the burden of federal student loans. Interest rates and payments are frozen until September. Federal borrowers got some much-needed relief, but the White House plan said nothing about private student loan holders.

In the last few weeks, student loan providers have rolled out some aid measures. Although no plan is as generous as the federal policy, private debtors can find relief during the pandemic too.

For starters, 10 states have partnered with lenders to suspend all private loan payments for 90 days. If you live California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Virginia, or Washington, you’re already covered.

Here are how some of the biggest student loan providers are adapting their policies:

College Ave Student Loans

College Ave has a three-month Disaster Forbearance program to help anyone struggling with their loans. You need to apply for the program, but payments would be suspended for three months. According to the FAQ, requests are usually processed within five business days. Interest will continue to accrue, but it won’t be added to the loan principal balance.


Since the coronavirus outbreak is classified as a natural disaster, CommonBond is extending its natural disaster forbearance policy to those impacted by the pandemic. That means borrowers can remain in forbearance with no payments as long until the government lifts the national emergency. Interest will still accrue while in forbearance.

Discover Student Loans

According to the Discover website, the company has “support in place for qualified Discover customers who experience hardship as a result of the outbreak.” However, the company provided no details on its site and directed borrowers to customer service for individual assistance. The number for student borrowers is 1-800-STUDENT (1-800-223-5614).


Navient, mainly a federal lender, has a number of ways to assist private borrowers as well. First off, the company is offering three months of forbearance with interest. You can also look into Navient’s Interest Reduction Program, which can lower your interest rate for six months. In addition, there are also interest-only plans and term modifications available.

Prodigy Finance

Prodigy is granting customers three-month forbearance periods with no payments, but interest accrues. The company stressed, however, that you before missing a payment you should contact [email protected] to discuss your situation and options.

Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae has expanded options and relief plans for borrowers struggling with loan payments, but you’ll need to contact customer service to see what relief you qualify for. As of now, many aid-seekers have been extended to three months of forbearance. 

Wells Fargo

Like most loan servicers, Wells Fargo is offering 90 days of forbearance to borrowers. A company press release mentioned that borrowers may have payments and fees deferred, but they must contact Wells Fargo first.