COVID-19 FAQ

We are actively tracking updates regarding the COVID-19 Virus outbreak. If you have concerns about how the outbreak may affect your schooling or ability to repay your loans, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions below.

We will continue to update this page on our website as we receive additional information.

Categories

Interest Waiver Questions

How does the President’s announcement about waiving student loan interest affect my account?

According to the Department of Education this benefit is only extended to federally held loans. Loans serviced by UHEAA are held under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and do not currently qualify for the interest waiver. For more information around the recent presidential announcements, we recommend visiting https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus.

Even though your loans may not qualify for this option, we are committed to assisting you during these times of uncertainty.  If you are struggling to make your payments during this time, please review the questions in the Repayment section of this FAQ.

How can I take advantage of the 0% interest waiver program if I have FFELP loans?

You could consolidate your current FFELP loans into a Direct loan, which would then allow you to be eligible to receive the interest waiver. Please be advised, once the 0% interest waiver ends, the interest rate on your new consolidation loan may be higher than your current loans. Additionally, the general timeline for consolidation is up to 90 days.

Natural Disaster Forbearance Questions

I was made aware that FEMA declared a Natural Disaster for the zip codes highly impacted by COVID-19. Do my loans qualify for a forbearance because of this?

FEMA declared a Natural Disaster for specific zip codes in California, New York, and Washington. If you work or live in the areas declared by FEMA, you are eligible for the National Disaster Forbearance. This forbearance allows customers to postponement payments for up to 90 days at a time and can be extended in 30 day increments.

How do I know if my zip code is eligible for the Natural Disaster Forbearance?

Zip code eligibility is determined directly by FEMA. Please visit the FEMA website to determine your eligibility.

How can I apply for the Natural Disaster Forbearance?

If you live in the affected area and your student loan file is currently delinquent, the Natural Disaster Forbearance will be automatically applied to your account. Please note, we are currently working on ensuring these forbearances are placed on the applicable accounts. The forbearance start date will reflect the date FEMA declared the Natural Disaster. If you live in the affected area and your student loan file is current, you must request the forbearance manually through one of our Loan Specialists. Please contact us by phone if you’re interested in this option.

My account was placed on the Natural Disaster Forbearance, but I’d like to resume payments. Can I have this forbearance removed?

Yes, all forbearance types, including the Natural Disaster Forbearance, are discretionary and can be removed at any time. If you’d like to remove this forbearance, please contact one of our Loan Specialists. Please be advised, once the forbearance is removed, payments will resume.

Repayment Questions

On March 20th, the President announced that I can suspend payments on my loans. Do my loans qualify for this suspension of payments?

According to the Department of Education, this benefit is only extended to federally held loans. Loans serviced by UHEAA are held under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and do not currently qualify for the National Emergency Forbearance. However, additional postponement or repayment options may be available to you during this time of uncertainty. Please see the FAQ below for other options you may qualify for.

How can I take advantage of the Administrative Forbearance the President mentioned if I have FFELP loans?

You could consolidate your current FFELP loans into a Direct loan, which would then allow you to be eligible to receive this forbearance. Please be advised, the general timeline for consolidations is up to 90 days.

What options are available to me if I am in need of student loan relief during COVID-19?

There are multiple options available to assist you during this time. We have listed them below for your convenience. If you are interested in more information around these options, please visit our forms page.

Income-Based Repayment Plan: This is a plan based on your household income, family size, and total student loan balance. If you are not receiving income at this time, it is possible you may qualify for a monthly payment of $0.00 each month for a 12 month period. You can apply online at StudentAid.gov.

Economic Hardship Deferment: This is a 12-month postponement of your payments. You can qualify for this deferment if you are either receiving any form of Government or State Assistance (WIC, Food stamps, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income [SSI], Disability) or if you are working full-time and meet the income requirements for your family size as outlined in Section 5 of the application. Documentation within the last 60 days is required.

Unemployment Deferment: This is a 6-month postponement of your payments. You can qualify for this deferment if you are either working less than 30 hours a week, actively seeking full-time work, and registered/willing to register with an employment seeking agency or receiving unemployment benefits. If you are receiving unemployment benefits, documentation within the last 60 days is required.

Temporary Hardship Forbearance: This is a short-term option that allows you to either postpone your payments or make interest only payments. Any unpaid interest will be capitalized and added to your principal balance at the end of the forbearance period.

What options do I have if my pay was reduced or impacted as a result of COIVD-19?

UHEAA offers a variety of repayment options that are focused on finding the right payment for you. If you are on an Income Based Repayment (IBR) plan and your income has changed, you can request to immediately recalculate your payment. To apply for a re-calculation, visit Studentaid.gov. If you are not currently on an Income Driven Repayment plan, visit our forms page to review your eligibility for additional options.

If I receive a forbearance, am I able to continue making payments if I can afford to?

Yes! If you have any outstanding interest your payments will go towards covering that interest. Once the interest has been satisfied, the remaining payment will  go directly to your principal balance. Payments can be made through your online account or over the phone.

If I submitted an application to suspend or reduce my payment, when will my request form be processed?

Request forms are processed in the order they are received. As long as your application is complete and you meet the requirements of the specific program, your request will begin on the anticipated date, regardless of processing time.

When will my payment be processed?

UHEAA is processing all payments within the standard timeframe; however it may take longer for the payment to appear on your UHEAA account or your bank account if either financial institution is impacted by COVID-19. Please note that your payment will still be effective the date it was received, regardless of the any delays.

As a result of COVID-19 I’m unable to contact UHEAA during regular business hours. Is someone available to help me at a different time of the day?

At this time, UHEAA is currently operating under our standard business hours of 8am – 5pm MT, Monday thru Friday. We are dedicated to helping you find the best option if you have been impacted by COVID-19. Please visit our forms page to review your eligibility for the various options we offer.

I’m currently on an Income Based Repayment plan. I’m making a lot less money because of the COVID-19 outbreak and don’t know when my income will return to the same level. What can I do?

If you are on an Income Based Repayment plan and your income has changed, you can request to immediately recalculate your payment. To apply for a re-calculation, visit StudentAid.gov.

I’m making payments and hoping to qualify for Forgiveness through the Income Based Repayment plan, but I can’t work right now due to COVID-19. If I miss a payment, can I still qualify for forgiveness?

If you don’t make a payment for a month, or enter a deferment or forbearance because you cannot afford your payment, that month will not count toward forgiveness. However, qualifying payments do not need to be consecutive, so you will not lose credit for payments that you’ve already made. If you believe that your work will be impacted for a long period of time, you can recertify for your repayment plan early, to take into consideration your drop in income. To learn more about Income-Driven Repayment, visit StudentAid.gov/IDR.

Student/Parent Questions

What will happen to my account if I am unable to attend classes due to COVID-19?

UHEAA receives regular enrollment updates from schools. If your enrollment status drops below half-time and your account enters a repayment status as a result of COVID-19, please review the Repayment Section of this FAQ page for additional options that may be available. As long as your status is above half-time enrollment, your payments will continue to be postponed.

What if my campus has closed due to COVID-19? Will I be able to finish the term and keep my federal student aid?

Please contact your school. Many institutions are making arrangements (such as take-home assignments or online classes) so students can complete the term.

What will happen to my account if my child is unable to attend classes due to COVID-19?

UHEAA uses your child’s school enrollment information to determine the status of your account. Please contact the school’s enrollment office to determine if your child’s enrollment status will be changing. As long as their status is above half-time enrollment, your payments will continue to be postponed.

What steps should I take if my/my child’s enrollment status is now below half-time as a result of COVID-19?

UHEAA receives regular enrollment updates from schools. If your child’s enrollment status drops below half-time and your account enters a repayment status as a result of COVID-19, please review this FAQ page for additional options that may be available.