The stimulus package has lots of facets, including student loan protections. The question you might be asking is, “How will it help me, the student loan borrower?” The real question should be DOES it help you, the student loan borrower. Because guess what, the stimulus does not help all student loan borrowers.
At the bottom of the page, you’ll see links based on your loan types. Click the appropriate loan to learn what, if any, protection you get from the stimulus package. If you know what kind of loan you have, scroll to the bottom of the page. If you’re not sure, read on.
Determining Your Loan Type
Let’s determine what kind of student loan you have. Private versus Federal is easy. You likely already know that part. But do you know if your Federal loan is a Direct Loan or an FFEL? Yes? Excellent. No? That’s ok, I’m going to tell you how to figure it out.
Note – FFEL and FFELP are the same loan type. They are acronyms for Federal Family Education Loan Program. FFEL simply ignores the “program” moniker. You may see one or the other, or both when following the steps below.
- Go to studentaid.gov. You can click it now. It will open in a separate window so you can follow these directions as you go.
- Login. If you’ve never been here before, you can create an account by clicking “Create Account”. If you’re in default and nervous that this will wake the beast, no, it doesn’t work that way.
- Once logged in, you’ll see the Student Aid Dashboard. You’ll see a chart of your aid – loans and grants, as well as servicer information on the righthand side.
- On the chart of loans and grants, you’ll see “View Details” on the right. Click that.
- Scroll down until you see “Loan Breakdown”. You’ll see your loans sorted by servicer. Loans with a balance are listed first. Loans that have been paid off are listed further down.
- Click on “View Loan Details” under any servicer showing a loan balance. Again, you’ll see a list of loans serviced by this servicer, with active loans listed first.
- Click on “View Loan Details” for any loan with a balance. The first thing you’ll see at the top is “Loan Type”. You’re looking for one of the following: FFEL/FFELP, Direct Loan/DL, or Perkins. We don’t care if they are Stafford, PLUS, or Consolidations at this point. Also, if you show a different loan type than the three mentioned, feel free to drop me an e-mail at email@example.com and I’ll clarify where it fits.
- If you have multiple active loans with this servicer, scroll down to “Next Loan” to view the next loan. Do this until you have checked all active loans with this servicer.
- If you have active loans with multiple servicers (step 5), go back to the list of servicers and do steps six through nine again. To go back to the list of servicers, click “Aid Summary” at the top of the screen in small blue type.
- Once you have all your loan types (FFEL, DL, or Perkins), click on the loan type you have to find out how the stimulus will affect you. If you have multiple loans, hit the back button after you read about the first type to return here and click your other loan types.
Do you have a loan that you couldn’t find on studentaid.gov? That’s a good indicator that it’s a private loan. The student aid website is for Federal loans only. Do you have a co-signer on the loan? That’s also a good indicator that it’s a private loan.
There was an additional provision (2206) that expanded employer contributions for qualified education expenses. Now, employees can make up to $5,250 in contributions to an employees student loans without being taxable income.
I recently refinanced my federal student loans and am curious if my employer may contribute to me refinanced loans to reduce my taxable income.
This specifically says “any qualified education expense” and does not state the loan must be a Federal loan nor does it matter who the holder or lender is. That would mean your refinanced loan would qualify under this provision. Yes, your employer could contribute up to $5,250 towards your loan and you would not be taxed on it.
Thank you so much for putting this together. What is unclear to me is that if you have 1 loan that is FFEL but the rest are Direct Loans then what happens? I know that 1 FFEL loan bars one from getting on an IDR payment plan for 10% of income and forces the IDR payment plan for 15% of income. Does having one FFEL loan have a similar impact here?
First, in answer to your question, the DL get all the protections while the FFEL gets none.
Second, you are mistaken about the IDR. Your DL can have the 10% plan (REPAYE or PAYE, depending on the age of your loans), while ONLY the FFEL is stuck with 15% (IBR).
The solution to both of your issues is simple: Convert your FFEL to a DL by consolidating. Then, ALL of your loans are DL and you get the protections of the stimulus plan AND the 10% IDR when this is all over. However, if you consolidate, you’ll lose any time you’ve accumulated towards IDR. You’d be starting from scratch. Only you can decide if consolidation is worth it.