NAICU Washington Update

Administration Extends Covid Relief Measures for Borrowers and Institutions

August 27, 2020

The Department of Education has issued a notice to colleges and universities to help campuses respond to President Trump’s recent announcement extending the deferment of student loan payments.  The department’s notice will suspend interest and payments on those loans until December 31 or until the payment period that includes the last day of the national emergency, whichever is later.  

Notably, the department’s announcement extends all of the provisions in the CARES Act related to borrowers, which will reduce the burden placed on borrowers by keeping consistent with current policy.  

The department also extended the deadline for previously issued COVID-19 educational-related flexibilities giving institutions the ability to continue to respond effectively to the pandemic. The move by the department also extends the regulatory relief through the end of the payment period that includes December 31, 2020 or the end of the payment period that includes the last day of the national emergency declared by the President, whichever is later. The following exceptions for the deadline extension include: 
  • Campus-based matching requirements: The institutional share requirement in the Federal Work-Study program and the Federal Supplemental Opportunity Education Grant program is waived for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years regardless of when the national emergency comes to an end.
  • Maximum duration of a leave of absence: A leave of absence for students is extended from 180 days until the end of the calendar year. This applies to students who are currently on a leave of absence due to COVID-19.
  • Return to Title IV waiver: The ability of institutions to not return Title IV aid back to the department if a student withdraws from the institution due to COVID-19 is extended to include students who begin attendance in a payment period that includes December 31, 2020 or the last date of the national emergency. This waiver is only applicable during the period of enrollment.
  • Foreign institutions offering distance learning to U.S. students receiving Title IV funds: Institutions are able to offer distance education courses for the full payment period following the end of a national emergency in the country in which the foreign institution is located.
  • Academic calendar flexibility: Institutions are able to continue to have standard semesters or trimesters consisting of as few as 13 weeks, standard quarters consisting of as few as nine weeks, and overlapping standard terms through the end of an academic year that includes December 31, 2020 or the date the national emergency ends, whichever is later.
  • Reporting and audit requirements: Institutions are given an additional six months from their original date to submit financial statements and audit compliance information. 

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