H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), signed into law on March 27, 2020, provided for a 6-month suspension and interest waiver on federally-owned student loans. It also halted all involuntary collections on these loans. These provisions only apply to Department of Education-held loans, excluding 1.9 million Perkins Loan borrowers, 5.98 million commercially held FFEL borrowers, 1.22 million guaranty agency held FFEL borrowers, and all private student loan borrowers.
Student debt exacerbates existing systemic inequities and racial disparities, preventing recovery from extending to already marginalized groups who are still reeling from the effects of the Great Recession. The CARES Act falls far short of providing full relief for hard-working families across the country, especially for veterans, older adults, and low- and moderate-income families, and communities of color who are getting hit hard by this pandemic and were already struggling most with student debt.