Samuel M. Sonnenstrahl and Doryann Barnhardt, who are respectively the Alumni Relations Director and the Director of Financial Aid at Gallaudet University, sent out a letter to alumni borrowers discussing how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted student loans. Alumni borrowers with outstanding student loan debt received some news, which is important to be shared with other borrowers in the Deaf community.

Congress passed the CARES [Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security] Act recently. As you may be already aware, the Internal Revenue Service is sending out stimulus checks—other parts of the CARES Act, however, may be beneficial to you.

A section of the CARES Act covers loans borrowed from the federal government for undergraduate and graduate students: student loan payments and the accrual of loan interest will be suspended until September 30, 2020. Borrowers are not required to make payments for the next five months, which does help alleviate some of the stress in repaying their student loans.

It is important to remember that this applies only to borrowers with federally-held student loans, such as the Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans, the Parent PLUS loans, and the Graduate PLUS loans. For more information, please visit

Payments until September 30, 2020 are optional, all of which will be applied to the principal balance. If you already have a manageable monthly payment plan and are not in financial hardship, this is your opportunity to decrease the outstanding balances on your federal loans while the interest is still at zero.

If you want to check on the status of your federal loans or you need to know your servicer’s contact information, visit and select “View My Account.” You will be asked to login using your Federal Student Aid [FSA] ID information. If you do not know your FSA ID, you will need to go to and select the “Manage My FSA ID” tab.