CARES Act Provides Relief for Student Loans

A press Release from Congress member Kevin McCarthy

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has greatly interrupted our lives, the economy, and life as we know it over the past few weeks. Students and graduates of colleges and universities in particular are feeling the impacts of widespread school closures, transitioning to online courses and remote learning, and looming concerns about student debt payments while unemployment rises.

That is why I wanted to alert you of a few provisions that I supported in the CARES Act (H.R. 748), which was signed into law by President Trump just over a week ago. The CARES Act includes timely relief for student loan borrowers during this period of uncertainty by deferring federal student loan payments, ensuring that students do not lose access to critical federal financial support such as Pell Grants and Federal Work-Study payments, and provides over $14 billion in direct payments to colleges and universities for COVID-19 preparedness efforts and related purposes.

I wanted to share the below resources that may help students and student loan borrowers navigate this unprecedented time. The CARES Act accomplishes three major things for students and student loan borrowers:

  1. Suspends all payments on federal student loans from March 13, 2020 through September 30, 2020. Most individuals with federal student loan debt will not be expected to make payments until October 1, 2020. Earlier this week, FedLoan and Navient, two of the largest federal student loan servicers, notified borrowers of this change.  More information can be found on the U.S. Department of Education’s dedicated Student Aid website here.
  2. Ensures that students who participate in the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program still receive payments if they are unable to work due to COVID-19. Any student who cannot fulfill FWS Program requirements due to their campus being closed in light of COVID-19 can still expect to receive the work-study payments that they would have received if able to work on campus, for a maximum of up to one academic year and not to exceed the amount of wages that would have been paid to the student if able to meet work-study requirements. These payments can be disbursed as a one-time grant or via multiple payments.
  3. Ensures that any semester that a student does not complete due to COVID-19 is excluded from the student’s Federal Pell Grant duration limit. Under current law, students who do not complete their semester are at risk of losing or having to pay back any Pell Grant funding that they might have received. However, under the CARES Act, students who receive Pell Grant funding will not lose any funds due to the inability to complete coursework during the COVID-19 public health crisis.

As always, you can find up-to-date resources and other updates on my website at KevinMcCarthy.House.Gov/Coronavirus-Updates and on my Medium page at

I hope that this information is helpful to you as we navigate this pandemic together. I will continue to work to ensure that our students receive the relief they need during this time.

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