Student Assessment Waivers
Earlier today, due to the nationwide school closures over the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education announced the federally mandated standardized testing for the 2019-2020 school year will be waived. However, states must complete and submit the waiver form in order to qualify. Since student assessments are required to be used in statewide accountability systems, any state that receives a one-year waiver may also receive a waiver from the requirement that this testing data be used in the statewide accountability system.
Federal Student Loan Aid
In addition to waiving the standard tests, the department announced that individuals with federal student loans will automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for at least the next 60 days. Borrowers have the option to suspend their payments without interest during this time, but must request an administrative forbearance from their loan servicer. The department has 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. These measures apply only to federal student loans, private student loans are not impacted.
Earlier this week Senate Democrats proposed a comprehensive student loan borrower bailout proposal.