COVID-19 FAQ

We are actively tracking updates regarding the Corona Virus outbreak. If you have concerns about how the outbreak may affect your schooling or ability to repay your loans, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions below.

We will continue to update this page as we receive additional information.

Categories

Interest Waiver Questions

How does the President’s announcement about waiving student loan interest affect my account?

As of March 13th, all federally held student loans will receive a 0% interest rate until further notice. During this time, interest will not accrue.

Do I need to do anything for the interest on my loans to be waived?

No, we are currently in the process of adjusting all accounts so that interest doesn’t accrue. The adjustment will be backdated and effective as of March 13, 2020.

I’m not currently in repayment. Am I still eligible to receive the interest waiver?

Yes. As of March 13th, all federally held student loans received a 0% interest rate until further notice. During this time, interest will not accrue.

Are my loans eligible to receive the 0% interest waiver?

Yes. Loans serviced by CornerStone will receive the interest waiver. If you have loans being serviced with other servicers, we recommend to verify that they are held by the Department of Education. Perkins, Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), or private loans may not be eligible to receive this benefit.

How long will my interest be waived?

Interest will not accrue for at least 60 days, beginning March 13, 2020. However this may be extended depending on the status of the COVID-19 national emergency. We will provide updates regarding your interest rate as information becomes available.

Will the interest I accrued before the president’s announcement also be waived?

No. The adjustment will be backdated with the effective date of March 13, 2020. You are still responsible for any previously accrued interest.

Will my payment change if my interest rate is changed?

No, your payment will remain the same even though your interest rate has changed.

How will my payments be applied during this time?

Your payment will still be applied to any outstanding interest accrued prior to March 13, 2020; however once that interest has been satisfied, the remaining amount of your payment will go towards the principal balance of your loans.

How can I take advantage of this program if I have FFELP loans?

You could consolidate your current FFELP loans into a Direct loan, which would then allow you to be eligible to receive the interest waiver. Please be advised, once the 0% interest waiver ends, the interest rate on your new consolidation loan may be higher than your current loans.

Will an interest rate reduction affect my eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or forgiveness under an Income Driven Repayment (IDR) plan?

No, an interest rate reduction will not affect your eligibility for PSLF or IDR forgiveness.

Forbearance Questions

On March 20, the president announced that I can suspend payments on my loans. What do I need to do to postpone my payments this way?

If you were at least 31 days behind on your payments as of March 13, 2020 or became 31 days past due after that date, you were, or will be, automatically placed into a forbearance as a safety net during the COVID-19 emergency.

If you are current on your payments, please contact us by phone or chat to request a forbearance due to this national emergency. We will then submit a request to postpone your payments to provide some additional relief during the COIVD-19 emergency.

How long will the forbearance last?

The forbearance will last for at least 60 days from March 13, 2020. The forbearance period may be extended depending on the status of the COVID-19 national emergency.

Am I accruing interest while in this forbearance?

No. On March 13th, the president announced all federally held loans would receive a 0% interest rate until further notice. As a result, you will not accrue any interest during this forbearance period.

Will interest be added to my principal balance at the end of the forbearance?

No. Based on the type of forbearance that was placed on your account, no interest will be added to your principal balance at the end of the forbearance period.

How can I take advantage of this option if I have FFELP loans?

You could consolidate your current FFELP loans into a Direct loan, which would then allow you to be eligible to receive this forbearance. Please be advised, the general timeline for consolidations is up to 90 days.

I’m currently working towards forgiveness under Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or an Income Driven Repayment (IDR) plan. Does my time in forbearance still count towards forgiveness?

Any time your payments are postponed, those months do not count towards forgiveness. If you would like to continue making payments towards forgiveness and you are already on the forbearance, please contact us by phone or chat to remove the forbearance. Once the forbearance is removed, payments will resume.

Am I able to continue making payments during this period of forbearance?

Yes! If you have any interest that accrued prior to March 13th, your payments will go towards covering that interest; however once that interest has been satisfied, any payment you make while your interest is waived will go directly to the principal balance of your loans. Payments may be made over the phone or through your online account.

I would like to continue making payments during this time. Can I cancel this forbearance?

Yes. Please contact us by phone or chat so we can request to remove your forbearance. Please be advised that once this forbearance is removed, payments will resume. If you are on automatic payments, this will be reactivated with your next bill.

I’m already in a different deferment/forbearance, but would like to take advantage of the forbearance the president talked about. Am I able to switch to this forbearance?

Please contact us by phone or chat so that we can request to remove the existing hold on your account and replace it with this one. Please be advised that any unpaid interest that accrued prior to March 13th will be capitalized. This means the interest will be added to your principal balance.

I received a negative mark on my credit before the forbearance was placed. Will that credit mark be removed?

No, forbearances do not change credit reporting. As a result, any report that was sent prior to the forbearance begin date will not be changed. However during this forbearance, your account will be reported as current.

Student Questions

What will happen to my account if I am unable to attend classes due to COVID-19?

CornerStone receives regular enrollment updates from schools. If your enrollment status drops below half-time and your account enters a repayment status as a result of COVID-19, please review this FAQ page for additional options that may be available.

Is COIVD-19 affecting the processing of my financial aid or FAFSA?

CornerStone is not directly involved with the processing of financial aid or FAFSA. For an update on your financial aid, please visit StudentAid.gov.

What if my campus has closed due to coronavirus? Will I be able to finish the term and keep my federal student aid?

Please contact your school. Many institutions are making arrangements (such as take-home assignments or online classes) so students can complete the term.

If my campus is closed or only offering online instruction, will I still get paid for the hours I am unable to work for my Federal Work-Study job?

If you’re unable to work your scheduled hours because of coronavirus-related disruptions (such as school or employer closures or student quarantines), your school may pay you for any scheduled hours or allow you to work by another means—for example, completing work online or remotely, depending on the job. Contact your school for more information.

My parent(s) can’t go to work because of coronavirus, and they don’t get paid if they don’t work. This means my financial need has increased. Can I get more financial aid?

Talk to the financial aid office at your school. They have flexibility to work with students to ensure that students are able to stay in school.

If my school moves classes online, am I going to get less financial aid?

If your school has moved classes to an online format, you must continue to participate in the course work and follow your teacher or professor’s instructions to remain eligible for financial aid. If you have questions about the online format, contact your school.

How do I contact my school’s financial aid office if the school is closed?

Check your school’s website for resources and contact information. Your school’s verified social media accounts also may be a good source for the latest information about how to contact your school during this time. While many schools have transitioned face-to-face courses to online instruction, most remain open and available to assist their students with questions.

Parent Questions

What will happen to my account if my child is unable to attend classes due to COVID-19?

CornerStone receives regular enrollment updates from schools. If your child’s enrollment status drops below half-time and your account enters a repayment status as a result of COVID-19, please review this FAQ page for additional options that may be available.

What steps should I take if my/my child’s enrollment status is now below half-time as a result of COVID-19?

CornerStone uses your/your child’s school enrollment information to determine the status of your account. Please contact the school’s enrollment office to determine if the enrollment status will be changing.

Repayment Questions

What options do I have if my pay was reduced or impacted as a result of COIVD-19?

CornerStone offers a variety of repayment options that are focused on finding the right payment for you. If you are on an Income Driven Repayment plan and your income has changed, you can request to immediately recalculate your payment. To apply for a re-calculation, visit StudentAid.gov.

If you are not currently on an Income Driven Repayment plan, visit our forms page to review your eligibility for additional options.

When will my submitted request form be processed?

Request forms are processed in the order they are received. As long as your application is complete and you meet the requirements of the specific program, your request will begin on the anticipated date, regardless of processing time.

When will my payment be processed?

CornerStone is processing all payments within the standard timeframe; however it may take longer for the payment to appear on your CornerStone account or your bank account if either financial institution is impacted by COVID-19. Please note that your payment will still be effective the date it was received, regardless of any unintended delays.

As a result of COVID-19 I’m unable to contact CornerStone during regular business hours. Is someone available to help me at a different time of the day?

At this time, CornerStone is currently operating under our standard business hours of 6am – 7pm Monday thru Thursday and 6am – 5pm Fridays. We are dedicated to helping you find the best option if you have been impacted by COVID-19. Please visit our forms page to review your eligibility for the various options we offer.

I’m currently on an Income-Driven Repayment plan. I recently started making a lot less money because of the Coronavirus outbreak and don’t know when my income will return to the same level. What can I do?

If you are on an Income Driven Repayment plan and your income has changed, you can request to immediately recalculate your payment. To apply for a re-calculation, visit StudentAid.gov.

I’m making payments and hoping to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or forgiveness under an Income-Driven Repayment plan, but I can’t work right now due to coronavirus. If I miss a payment, can I still qualify for forgiveness?

If you don’t make a payment for a month, or enter a deferment or forbearance because you cannot afford your payment, that month will not count toward forgiveness. However, qualifying payments do not need to be consecutive, so you will not lose credit for payments that you’ve already made. As a reminder, all borrowers seeking PSLF should enter an income-driven repayment plan, which bases monthly payments on income instead of on loan debt. If you believe that your work will be impacted for a long period of time, you can recertify for your repayment plan early, to take into consideration your drop in income. PSLF also requires you to be working full-time for a qualifying employer to receive credit toward PSLF for a month. If your employer does not consider you to be working full-time during this period, then this month or these months will not count toward PSLF even if you make a payment. However, paid sick leave or other leave time may be counted by your employer as hours worked for the purposes of PSLF. To learn more about PSLF, visit StudentAid.gov/publicservice. To learn more about income-driven repayment, visit StudentAid.gov/idr.

What other options do I have to postpone my payments if I’m unable to work due to COVID-19?

CornerStone offers both long and short term options to postpone your payments if you are unable to work at this time. Please visit our forms page to review your eligibility for each of these options.