Financial Aid Information Specific to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

Last updated February 22, 2021 at 9:06 a.m.

What if I am now experiencing financial difficulties due to COVID-19 closures?

The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was expanded as part of the sweeping relief package to allow college students to more easily access the program, temporarily removing work and eligibility requirements for students — a change that will be in place for the duration of the public health emergency due to the coronavirus.

Self-supporting college students may qualify for an Economic Impact Payment, the IRS announced on 11/13/20. Click here for details.

The United Way is maintaining a webpage specifically for those who are affected and need immediate help with finding food, paying bills, or other essential services.

You can find the foodbank nearest you on FeedingAmerica.org.

The federal government is keeping a list of unemployment benefits, healthcare benefits, small business loans, and other resources at https://www.benefits.gov/help/faq/Coronavirus-resources .

Students and parents are cautioned to beware of scams connected to this emergency. The Federal Trade Commission issued a warning on May 27, 2020 alerting students to phishing attempts using targeted emails.

Students are always encouraged to seek out additional scholarship opportunities. We list outside scholarships here on our website.

Students who are Missouri residents may want to investigate the state’s emergency funding programs, including the Director’s Choice Scholarship. Those resources are listed here.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development has also issued updated guidance for A+ Eligibility to allow temporary exceptions to some policy requirements.

Please see here for a list of broadband providers in Missouri and how they are adjusting charges, waiving fees, and providing other assistance with internet access.

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The $2 trillion bill includes roughly $30 billion in an Education Stabilization Fund, of which about $14 billion will be allocated to higher education, and includes multiple provisions related to student aid.   

The Federal Secretary of the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, announced on 03/20/20 that the government will grant a waiver to any state that is unable to assess its students because of the ongoing national emergency.

In addition, the Secretary announced that same day that Federal Student Aid (FSA) is executing on the President’s promise to provide student loan relief to tens of millions of borrowers during the national emergency.  All borrowers with federally held student loans will automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for a period of at least 60 days.  In addition, each of these borrowers will have the option to suspend their payments for at least two months to allow them greater flexibility during the national emergency.  This will allow borrowers to temporarily stop their payments without worrying about accruing interest. 

Your federal student loan payments will automatically stop from March 13, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2020.

UPDATE: 0% interest rate and other federal student loan flexibilities have been extended until Dec. 31, 2020

The Secretary has also authorized an automatic suspension of payments for any borrower more than 31 days delinquent as of March 13, 2020, or who becomes more than 31 days delinquent, essentially giving borrowers a safety net during the national emergency. 

Some borrowers may want to continue making payments, like those seeking Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or those enrolled in a repayment plan with a manageable monthly payment.  For borrowers continuing to make payments, the full amount of their payment will be applied to the principal amount of their loan once all interest accrued prior to March 13, 2020, is paid.  The Department is working closely with Congress to ensure all student borrowers, including those in income-driven repayment plans, receive needed support at this time. 

A borrower who has experienced a change in income can always contact their loan servicer to discuss lowering their monthly payment. 

The federal Department of Education is also maintaining a page specific to questions and concerns from parents and students at this link.

Financial aid administrators (FAAs) have statutory authority to use professional judgment to make adjustments on a case-by-case basis to the cost of attendance or to the data elements used in calculating the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the FAFSA to reflect a student’s special circumstances. The use of professional judgment where students and/or their families have been affected by COVID-19 is permitted, such as in the case where an employer closes for a period of time as a result of COVID-19. In making professional judgment determinations, the school must obtain documentation that substantiates the reason for any adjustment on a case-by-case basis. Loss of investments due to stock market fluctuations are not considered. Contact the financial aid office for more information.

What if I have questions or concerns about my student loans?

Student loan servicers and lending agencies may be providing additional help and resources. You can find your loan servicer by visiting the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS for Students) or by following the directions on this page maintained by the Department of Education. Also, please visit this page frequently for updates as we receive them.

Students with loans from FedLoans Servicing

Students with loans from Nelnet

Where can I find additional information specific to this situation?

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is making all their financial aid information related to coronavirus available to the public at this webpage.