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Secretary DeVos Suspends Federal Student Loan Payments, Waives Interest During National Emergency

AACTE Responds to COVID-19

U.S. Department of Education logoU.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today that the office of Federal Student Aid is executing on President Donald J. Trump’s promise to provide student loan relief to tens of millions of borrowers during the COVID-19 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.

Updates: Department of Ed and Other Federal Agencies on COVID-19 Resources for Education

AACTE Responds to COVID-19

As the United States responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, federal agencies connected to the education and care of our nation’s higher education and PK-12 students are releasing information and guidance for taking action, as well as flexibilities and waivers offered.

The U.S. Department of Education offered a phone call to K-12 stakeholder on Friday March 20, 2020, with officials from the Department, the CDC, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Department has posted a readout of the call, with links to resources on servicing students with disabilities, student loan relief, student privacy, and more.

Main Links for COVID-19 Information

U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service

Centers for Disease Control

Secretary DeVos Publishes New Resource on Accessibility and Distance Learning Options

U.S. Department of Education logoU.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today the Department has released new information clarifying that federal law should not be used to prevent schools from offering distance learning opportunities to all students, including students with disabilities. This new resource from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) explains that as a school district takes necessary steps to address the health, safety, and well-being of all its students and staff, educators can use distance learning opportunities to serve all students.

“It was extremely disappointing to hear that some school districts were using information from the Department of Education as an excuse not to educate kids,” said Secretary DeVos. “This is a time for creativity and an opportunity to pursue as much flexibility as possible so that learning continues. It is a time for all of us to pull together to do what’s right for our nation’s students.”

Department of Education Releases Guidance to IHEs on Interrupted Study Due to COVID-19

AACTE Responds to COVID-19

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) released guidance on March 5 and followed up with additional outreach on March 11, 2020 to ensure that institutions of higher education (IHE) are aware of options for various interrupted study due to COVID-19, including what the Department refers to as “student teaching.” This is particularly important for compliance with Title IV of the Higher Education Act. The guidance covers five scenarios including the following:

“A student was enrolled in a program and met the requirements for full-time enrollment; however, due to the COVID-19, one or more classes—such as an internship, a clinical rotation, student teaching or fieldwork—have been cancelled and now the student has fallen below the 12 credit hour minimum and is no longer considered to be a full-time student …”

Please review the guidance offered and work with your institution’s leadership, including the financial aid office moving forward. Specific situations leading to additional questions should be directed to COVID-19@ed.gov.

Other resources

U.S. Department of Education COVID-19 Resources

CDC Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education

CDC Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Fact Sheet

AACTE Tools

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