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What does the CARES Act mean for students?

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If you're one of the 44 million Americans who has student loan debt, the CARES Act gives a bit of breathing room. Payments on federal student loans are temporarily paused, and interest rates are 0% until September 30, 2020. 

You may be wondering: how do I take a break from my payments? How do I know if my loan is a federal one? The good news is, you do not need to apply. If you have a federal loan servicer, your payments will automatically stop without any communication from you. If you aren't sure whether your loan is federally held, the best way to find out is to contact your loan servicer directly. This article from NPR also suggests logging on to studentaid.gov and looking at the loan detail to see if it lists the Department of Education as the lender.

If you have more questions, the Federal Student Aid website has plenty of details and contact information.

In other education news, Governor Whitmer just announced a program called "Futures for Frontliners," intended to provide a tuition-free pathway to a college or technical degree for essential workers. According to the press release from the governor's office, this would include "workers like the ones staffing our hospitals and nursing homes, stocking the shelves at grocery stores, providing child care to critical infrastructure workers, manufacturing PPE, protecting public safety, picking up trash or delivering supplies." Michigan is the first state to propose such a program, inspired by the G.I. Bill enacted after World War II that provided educational opportunities for so many veterans, and still does.

The program is still in planning and development stages before it can be enacted by the state legislature, so no application process is open yet. Visit Michigan.gov for future updates on this program, and other support for students in Michigan.