Relatively few borrowers have taken advantage of it. MeasureOne found that fewer borrowers were using forbearances in the third quarter of 2020 (July, August, and September) compared to the previous three months (3.68% vs. 7.04%, respectively). It should be noted that many of the special abstentions were only available in 90-day increments.
A NerdWallet survey of 30 private lenders found that virtually all short-term forbearance requests in 2020 were granted.
- Ascent said 2.8% of its student loan portfolio requested emergency forbearance and 100% of those requests were approved.
- Among Funding U borrowers, less than 5% requested forbearance and 100% of those requests were approved.
- Splash Financial reported that 1.7% of its borrowers requested special forbearance and 93% were approved (borrowers were rejected if they did not provide the requested documents).
Most lenders who responded to NerdWallet’s questionnaire said they do not currently report overdue accounts to collections, and among those who do, reporting rates are low. For example, Ascent reported that 0.9% of its portfolio went to collections.
Some of these special relief options continue until 2021, but several lenders have already canceled their programs.
In these cases, borrowers should rely on existing options. This usually means asking for regular abstentions that lenders already offer, which have limits (usually around 12 months, but some offer double). If you have private student loans, contact your lender to find out what they offer.
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