If you live in the area affected by Hurricane Harvey, hopefully you are safe and sound as you read this article.
Managing student loans is obviously much lower on the list of priorities than basics such as food and shelter. Unfortunately, regardless of what is happening in your life student loans hang on in the background.
Federal Student Aid Help for those affected by Hurricane Harvey
The Department of Education has set up a number of resources to help out current students and student loan holders in the Huston area. This includes a website for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The Department also set up a special email account, at [email protected]. Finally, a hotline has also been set up. The number to call is 1-844-348-4082.
Additionally, we are told that borrowers can get a three month deferment on their federal student loan payments upon request. While this deferment does relieve the need to make a student loan payment for several months, we note that interest on your loan balance will still accumulate during this time.
Tips for dealing with student loans
The Department of Education’s blog states that, “The Department has also directed federal student loan servicers to provide impacted borrowers flexibility in managing their loan payments during this time.”
Those that have been affected by Hurricane Harvey should expect that a deferment or forbearance is the bare minimum that your loan servicer can do to aid in the aftermath of the storm. If additional help is necessary, now is the time for borrowers to ask for it. We suggest that if the customer service representative is not being sufficiently helpful, that you ask to speak with a supervisor. Supervisors should have great latitude to extend breaks to those impacted by Harvey. This should likely include waiving any late fees incurred as a result of late or missed payments.
If you have private student loans, it is also a good idea to reach out to your loan company. Many lenders have programs that can temporarily reduce interest rates and payments. Dealing with the aftermath of Harvey certainly justifies getting a break from your lender.
If you would like suggestions based upon your personal situation or feel your lender is being unreasonable given your difficult circumstances, please feel free to send us an email.