Repaying Student Loans / Interest Rate, Private Loans

Ways to Pay for College in a Pandemic

5 Min Read

While it may be uncertain where and how you’ll be attending classes this fall, you’ll still need to pay for your education. Since COVID-19 has made such a drastic impact on the economy, jobs, and life in general, you may be left wondering how you’ll pay for your education.

Though there are so many unknowns, one thing to know is that there are options available if you need financial help, and here are some that you might consider.


Financial Aid and Scholarships

If you or your family’s financial situation has changed because of COVID-19, you may be able to appeal your offer for financial aid from your institution, or apply now for aid if you haven’t already done so. Given the circumstances, schools are reevaluating the financial needs of students and granting additional aid awards, so it is definitely worth a shot to make an appeal. The worst thing that could happen is being turned down.

Pay attention to deadlines when you make an appeal. Deadlines are different for each state, and your school may have additional options or resources available to you, so the financial aid office is a crucial resource at this time. Reach out sooner than later so you don’t miss out!

Emergency grants are also available, thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act – giving over $6 billion in funding to schools specifically to aid students impacted by the pandemic. Students must be eligible for financial aid to receive an emergency grant, and you can visit your school’s website or contact your financial aid office for more information.

It’s also never a bad idea to look for scholarships you may be eligible for. You never know what you might find – and deadlines for many scholarship applications have been pushed back due to COVID, giving you more time to apply.

Again, the worst that can happen is getting turned down, so it’s worth your time to submit a scholarship application if it could end up paying for even a chunk of your education. Your school likely has a scholarship resource page online, or your financial aid office can help guide you in the right direction for available scholarships.


Student Loans

If you still need financial assistance, federal student loans often include benefits and lower interest rates, so be sure to use those first. Additionally, Interest rates for all federal loans disbursed after July 1, 2020 and before July 1, 2021, are at historic lows. The last time interest rates were this low was 15 years ago.

Due to the CARES Act and subsequent executive orders by Presidents Trump and Biden to extend initial relief, federally-owned student loans have also have been temporarily adjusted to provide special relief until December 31, 2022. Interest has been temporarily reduced to 0% and loans currently in repayment are also being placed in administrative forbearance, which means borrowers who entered repayment are not required to make payments.

And if you need financial assistance beyond federal loans, Nelnet Bank has private student loans at competitive low rates to lock in your funding before the semester starts. Paying for college doesn’t have to be an unknown, and with Nelnet Bank you get a competitive rate, and your cosigner can start an application on your behalf.


Nelnet Bank does not provide legal, investment, tax, or financial advice. This page and the information contained herein is for informational purposes only. This content is not meant to address the circumstances of any particular individual. Nothing contained in this article constitutes a recommendation or endorsement by Nelnet Bank. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consult with a qualified professional.

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