US government, BYU working to help students financially during pandemic

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The US Department of Education announced they would be setting interest rates for student loans at 0% to help alleviate the stress of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

College students across the country are adjusting to classes being taught remotely due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the US government and universities are working to alleviate some of the financial worries these students might face.

President Trump announced on March 13 that he was taking emergency actions to help college students and their families. “To help our students and their families, I’ve waived interest on all student loans held by federal government agencies, and that will be until further notice,” Trump said during a press conference.

The U.S. Department of Education has made a set of changes regarding student loans during the coronavirus outbreak. (Nathan Wanlass)

The US Department of Education then announced on March 20 that they would follow through with the president’s wishes. “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,” the press release read.

The US Department of Education said in the press release that this decision would help students not worry about their loans during this national emergency.

BYU also encouraged students to move home to finish the semester when they announced their decision to teach all classes remotely, and the university has taken a few steps to help students financially during the outbreak.

BYU’s Academic Vice President Shane Reese announced on March 23 that students will be able to choose to be graded on a pass/fail basis instead of receiving a letter grade.

BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins pointed to this change as a way to help students keep their academic scholarships.

The university is also working to ensure that students employed by the university are able to keep a job even if they move home or their jobs are no longer necessary due to the outbreak.

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