Disaster Relief

If you live in a federally declared disaster area, you may be eligible for relief that would temporarily suspend your federal student loan payments.

To see if your area has been declared as a disaster area, check the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website.

Requesting Disaster Relief

For non-defaulted borrowers, both Direct Loans and Federal Family Education Loans will grant a three-month administrative forbearance and provide you a notice allowing you to decline the forbearance if you were not affected by the disaster.  You do not need to notify the loan holder unless the holder does not have your current address.

For defaulted borrowers, you, a member of your family or another reliable source must contact the loan holder to let them know that you live in a designated disaster area and were affected by the disaster.  Collection activities will stop for three months after this notification has been received.

You have different options for requesting relief, depending on how you received your loans:

  • For Direct Loan program (DL) loans: Call the Direct Loan Servicing Center at 800.848.0979.
  • For Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) loans: Contact your lender directly or call 800.4FEDAID (800.433.3243).
  • All borrowers can also contact the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman at 877.557.2575 or 202.275.0549 for assistance.

Find out more about DL, FFELP, and other key industry players

If you don’t know who holds your loans, you can find details on all of your federal student loans using the U.S. Department of Education’s National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

Receiving Disaster Relief 

Receiving disaster relief will postpone your payments—but the type of postponement depends on whether you’re in school or in repayment.

If you are attending school and postponing your payments with an in-school deferment:

  • You can continue using this deferment—regardless of your actual enrollment status—during your period of disaster-related nonattendance.
  • You will keep an in-school enrollment status until you withdraw or re-enroll during the next regular enrollment period.
  • If you do not enroll at the next enrollment period’s start date, your loans will be put into repayment as of that date.
  • Upon entering repayment, you will receive a grace period—provided you haven’t previously used this time up.

If you are currently repaying your loans:

  • Your loan holder can grant you forbearance for up to 3 months.
  • During this time, your payments will not be due—but interest will continue to accrue on your loans.
  • Your loan holder does not need to obtain supporting documentation or a signed written agreement from you to grant you forbearance.
  • You can request forbearance over the phone or in writing.

Find out more about deferment and forbearance. If you have additional questions about disaster relief, please contact American Student Assistance® (ASA) or visit the Federal Student Aid website.