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People With Private Student Loans Can Now Get Help During the Crisis. Here’s How

Twenty servicers will now offer people with private student loans various forms of aid, including waiving late payment fees and ensuring they don't receive a negative credit report.

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CHICAGO — The state has pushed 20 private student loan servicers to offer aid to Illinoisans struggling during the crisis.

The servicers will now offer people with private student loans various forms of aid, including waiving late payment fees and ensuring they don’t receive a negative credit report, Gov. JB Pritzker announced Tuesday. About 140,000 people in Illinois could benefit, he said.

Such borrowers had previously faced little help as the federal government’s stimulus bill, the CARES Act, offered aid only to borrowers with federal student loans.

Starting immediately, the help will be available to people who have commercially owned Federal Family Educationa Program loans or privately held student loans.

Those who wish to seek relief can call or otherwise contact their servicer.

Here are some of the relief options servicers can provide:

  • At least 90 days of forbearance
  • Waiving late payment fees
  • Ensuring borrowers don’t receive negative credit reports
  • Stopping debt collection lawsuits for 90 days
  • Working with borrowers to get them enrolled in borrow assistance programs, like income-based repayment

The state is also urging loan servicers to “proactively work with loan holders whenever possible to relax … restrictions or obligations,” according to the Governor’s Office.

The program is new, Pritzker said, so some lenders are “getting up to speed” on the changes and how they can provide aid to borrowers.

Borrowers who are having problem with student loan servicers can contact the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to file a complaint at 217-785-2900. You can also seek help from the Attorney General’s Office by calling 800-455-2456 or can file a complaint with the office online.

Not sure who your servicer is?

If you’re not sure who is the servicer for your federal loan, you can check online or call the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800-433-3243 or 800-730-8913.

People who have private student loans can look for contact information for the servicer on their monthly billing statements.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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