COVID-19 Updates for Students, Parents, Borrowers, and Lenders

The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) is working to protect New York’s students and borrowers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. HESC has determined that impacted students receiving financial aid will not suffer negative consequences regarding their current or future awards and is offering borrowers student loan debt relief through multiple programs.

HESC is providing answers to frequently asked questions for students, parents, borrowers, and lenders/servicers. As we adapt our policies and operations to meet the challenges of COVID-19, we will continue to provide you with updated information.

FAQ updated as of May 29, 2020.

  • Students/Parents
  • Borrowers
  • Lender/Servicers
  • Additional Resources
  • Contact HESC

 

The frequently asked questions and answers below, updated regularly, provide students and parents with information on student financial aid during the public health emergency for COVID-19.

General Questions

Who are the students considered impacted by COVID-19?
If you would have met all eligibility requirements for your NYS financial aid award but your studies were disturbed because one of the reasons below, you may be considered impacted:
  1. You became sick with the virus or were the primary caretaker of someone who was,
  2. Your campus closed and you did not have the means to continue your coursework in your home through the use of distance learning, or
  3. You were unable to complete your credit-bearing experiential learning internship and no alternative coursework could be offered by your college.
Find more information at Determining Students’ COVID-19 Impact.
I was a full-time student, but needed to drop classes because of COVID-19, will I still get my award payment?
If you were deemed by your college to impacted by COVID-19 and were eligible for a NYS grant or scholarship for the term and charged tuition, but had to drop a class, you will still receive your payment.

Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)

I submitted my TAP application, but after printing it I noticed I put the wrong Social Security Number for my mother/father/guardian. Can I fix this?
Updates can be made in your Student Access account. Login to your Student Access Account, click ‘Review my NY Financial Aid Information’ to update your information. You can also write the correct Social Security Number directly on the printed form and mail the form to HESC.
If I drop a class because online learning is not viable, will I still receive my TAP?
Yes. If your classes were converted to an online format in response to COVID-19 and you were unable to complete a class due to this alternative method of learning, you will still receive your TAP payment, even if this caused you to drop below full time.

Do I need documentation to verify that I could not finish my classes due to COVID-19?
Please contact your school regarding the documentation that may be needed and to receive further instructions.

Excelsior Scholarship / Enhanced Tuition Awards

When will the 2020-21 Excelsior Scholarship application open?
The opening date for the 2020-21 Excelsior Scholarship application has not yet been determined. Sign up to receive updates on the 2020-21 Excelsior Scholarship at hesc.ny.gov/excelsior.

When will the 2020-21 Enhanced Tuition Awards (ETA) applications open?
The opening date for the 2020-21 ETA application has not yet been determined. Sign up to receive updates on the ETA at hesc.ny.gov/eta.

I will not be able to complete the 30-credit per year requirement because I was impacted by COVID-19. Will I lose my Excelsior/ETA award?
No. If you are unable to meet the 30-credit requirement in 2019-20 academic year because you were deemed by your college to be impacted by COVID-19, you will receive your award for the term. You will be expected to successfully complete 30 credits in future terms/years.

I was not able to meet the 30-credit requirement due to COVID-19 in 2019-20. Do I still need to meet the 60-credit requirement by 2021?
Students do not need to meet the 60-credit requirement by 2021 (after two years) if they were deemed by their college to be impacted by COVID -19 and unable to meet the 30 credit requirement for the 2019-20 academic year. 

I was registered for 12 credits for the spring term and had to drop a class because I was impacted by COVID-19. Will I get my payment at the end of the semester?
Yes, if you are deemed by your college to be impacted by COVID-19, you will receive your award for the term.

I received a request from HESC for additional documentation (income questionnaire, appeal paperwork, additional information), should I submit the documentation as requested? What happens if I am unable to submit the required documentation by the deadline date?
Documentation may be uploaded through the student portal at any time. However, HESC has extended all deadline dates indefinitely. Once new deadline dates are established, HESC will notify you via email and you will need to submit the required documentation by the due date.

When will I receive a response about my eligibility?
As HESC responds to the impact of COVID-19, the processing of some documentation may be delayed while we work to resume normal operations.  HESC will notify you of your status once your application is processed.

NYS Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Scholarship

I applied for a STEM scholarship, but haven’t heard anything yet?
As HESC responds to the impact of COVID-19, the processing of some documentation may be delayed while we work to resume normal operations. HESC will notify you of your status once your application is processed.

I am having trouble getting my transcripts, will you extend the deadlines to submit them?
Yes. HESC has extended all application deadline dates indefinitely. Once new deadline dates are established, HESC will notify you via email and you will need to submit the required documentation by the due date.

I am a STEM recipient and I moved to pass/fail for my classes. Will I get my STEM payment since there is a GPA requirement?
Yes. If you pass all required classes, you will receive your STEM Scholarship for the term.

Will the STEM application deadline be extended?
Yes. HESC has extended all application deadline dates indefinitely. Please check www.hesc.ny.gov/stem frequently for updates.

NYS Child Welfare Worker Incentive Scholarship Program

I applied for the NYS Child Welfare Worker Scholarship, when will I hear if I am a recipient?
As HESC repsonds to the impact of COVID-19, the processing of some documentation may be deplayed while we work to resume normal operations. HESC will notify you of your status once your application is processed.
Will you extend the deadline for documents? I am having trouble obtaining the documentation required due to COVID-19?
Yes. HESC has extended all application deadline dates indefinitely. Once new deadline dates are established, HESC will notify you via email and you will need to submit the required documentation by the due date.
Will you extend the deadline to apply for the Child Welfare Worker Scholarship?
Yes. HESC has extended all application deadline dates indefinitely. Please check www.hesc.ny.gov/ChildWelfareWorkerScholarship frequently for updates.

NYS Part-time Scholarship Award (PTS)

I am a recipient of a Part-time Scholarship and was impacted by COVID-19 and had to drop a class. Will I receive my award for the term?
If you dropped a class and your college has deemed you impacted by COVID-19, you will receive your award for this term.

Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program (GOYF)

Is HESC continuing to make Get on Your Feet (GOYF) payments during the COVID-19 emergency?
As HESC responds to the impact of COVID-19, our ability to support some student loan borrowers is limited. As a result, all GOYF payments are temporarily suspended. We understand that borrowers are concerned about the impact of this on their loans. This suspension will not impact the total number of payments made on your behalf. HESC will still make a total of 24 payments toward your loans. HESC will notify you once payments, on your behalf, to your servicer, resume.

To assist federal student loan borrowers at this time, you may be eligible for student loan relief announced by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). The DOE directive requires that all Direct Loan servicers charge 0 percent interest on student loans and requires servicers to grant administrative forbearance, for a period of 60 days, beginning on March 13, 2020. The administrative forbearance allows borrowers to temporarily stop making federal loan payments, without becoming delinquent. To request an administrative forbearance, you will need to contact your loan servicer directly. Once your servicers approves your request, you will not have any payments due for as long as the administrative forbearance is in effect. Click here for more information on this emergency relief for federal loan borrowers.

Other Loan Forgiveness Programs

Are the dates to submit documentation for recent program applications be extended?
Yes. At this time all loan forgiveness deadlines currently in effect will be extended indefinitely. New dates will be announced once normal operations resume.

Will I receive my loan forgiveness payment from HESC?
As HESC repsonds to the impact of COVID-19 and works to resume normal operations, the processing of loan forgiveness payments may be delayed.

Other Programs

I am a recipient of a Scholarship for Academic Excellence, and impacted by COVID-19. Will I receive my award for the term?
If you are a Scholarship for Academic Excellence award recipient and your college deemed you to be impacted by COVID-19, you will receive your award for this term.
I receive a Memorial Scholarship and my college is reducing my room and board charge. Will my scholarship change?
If you are attending a SUNY or CUNY college, and were deemed by your college to be impacted by COVID-19, your award may need to be adjusted to meet the new cost of attendance. Your college will make that determination and adjust as necessary.
Are Veterans Tuition Awards still paid if the student was impacted by COVID-19?
If you receive a Veterans Tuition Award, and your college deemed you to be impacted by COVID-19, you will receive their award for this term.
I need to submit my DD214 to complete my Veterans Tuition Award. Should I submit to HESC?
Documentation may be submitted to HESC. However, as HESC responds to the impact of COVID-19, processing may be delayed while we work to resume normal operations.

High School Students

I was planning to visit college campuses this spring before making my selection for the fall, but now can’t due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Can I visit a college without physically going there?
Many colleges have virtual tours which you can find on their websites or through this virtual tour spreadsheet shared by our SUNY partners.

 

If you would have met all eligibility requirements for your NYS financial aid award but your studies were disturbed because one of the reasons below, you may be considered impacted:

(1) You became sick with the virus or were the primary caretaker of someone who was,

(2) Your campus closed and you did not have the means to continue your coursework in your home through the use of distance learning, or

(3) You were unable to complete your credit-bearing experiential learning internship and no alternative coursework could be offered by your college.

HESC is offering its NYS borrowers student loan debt relief. The frequently asked question and answers below, updated regularly, provide borrowers with information on the student loan debt relief that will be granted to you during the public health emergency for COVID-19.

Borrowers who have filed for bankruptcy on their default student loans:

I recently received a letter from ECMC regarding my bankruptcy claim, but my loans still show that they’re with HESC. Who is my correct loan holder/loan servicer?
If ECMC recently sent you correspondence, they are your current loan holder and now servicing your loans. Please contact ECMC at 1-888-363-4562 for further guidance.

If you have not received a letter from ECMC, HESC continues to be the holder of your loans. Please be aware that HESC has suspended all adverse collections actions regarding your loans for at least 60 days. The processing of any refunds owed to you may be delayed while we work to resume normal operations.
I filed for bankruptcy and am due a refund from HESC. When can I expect my refund?
Due to the public health emergency for the COVID-19 virus, HESC has suspended all adverse actions regarding your loans for at least 60 days. The processing of your refunds due may be delayed while we work to resume normal operations.

Borrowers who have filed a “Borrower Defense to Repayment Application” to Suspend Collection Activity:

I requested a forbearance through the U.S. Department of Education’s website and am still receiving bills from HESC. I was told that collections would stop. How can I be sure my application for forbearance is being processed?
If your loans are currently with HESC, all adverse collections activities regarding your defaulted loans are currently suspended through and including September 30, 2020, due to the public health emergency for the COVID-19 virus. Your request may be delayed while we work to resume normal operations, and no additional penalties will be assessed due to any delay.

Borrowers who have filed Total and Permanent Disability Applications:

I recently filed for Total and Permanent Disability, but HESC has not been notified about my application. Will HESC suspend collections activities on my defaulted loans?
Yes. HESC has suspended all adverse collection activities regarding your defaulted loans through and including September 30, 2020, due to the public health emergency for the COVID-19 virus. Your request may be delayed while we work to resume normal operations, and no additional penalties will be assessed due to any delay.

Borrowers who are entitled to Service Members Relief Act benefits:

I recently enlisted in the military. When will HESC give me my service member relief benefits?
If your loans are currently with HESC, all adverse collections activities regarding your defaulted loans are currently suspended through and including September 30, 2020, due to the public health emergency for the COVID-19 virus. Your request may be delayed while we work to resume normal operations.

Borrowers in the Loan Rehabilitation Program Pipeline:

I recently completed a loan rehabilitation agreement with HESC and would like to get my loans out of default as quickly as possible. Will I be penalized if I miss any payments now that HESC has suspended its collections activities?
If your loans are currently with HESC, there will be no penalty for borrowers who are seeking loan rehabilitation while the suspension of collection activities is in place. Furthermore, no adverse penalties will be assessed due to this delay.

Can I continue to make monthly payments so that I can rehabilitate my loans?
You will not be billed during the suspension period through and including September 30, 2020, but can continue to make payments. Any payments made during this time will be applied to the principal balance on your loan, once all applicable fees and interest or other accrued fees have been applied.
My loans were not rehabilitated in March, and now HESC will not rehabilitate my loans until May or June. Do I need to continue making payments?
If your loans are currently with HESC and were due to be rehabilitated in March, April or May, there will be no adverse impact for failure to make payments during the suspension of collections activity through and including Septembr 30, 2020. You will not be billed during the suspension period, but can continue to make payments. Any payments made during this time will be applied to the principal balance on your loan, once all interest and/or other accrued fees have been applied.

Borrowers who have filed for Loan Consolidations:

I have applied for loan consolidation but it cannot be processed until HESC verifies certain information. How will my loans be consolidated?
If your loans are currently with HESC and you applied for loan consolidation, there will be no adverse impact during the suspension on all collections activities, effective through and including September 30, 2020. During this period, borrowers seeking loan consolidation will be assessed 0% interest and no payments will be required. HESC will provide the necessary verifications for your loan consolidation once its loan operations resume.
My loans were consolidated and my consolidated loan balance seems high. I spoke with my servicer who indicated that they were waiting for an adjustment from HESC to reduce my balance. When will HESC notify my servicer of my true balance?
If your loans were consolidated and you are pending an adjustment to your account, the adjustment will be processed promptly once normal operations resume.

Borrowers who are in Default Collections:

HESC took my tax refund and I need that money since I am not working due to coronavirus. Can you help me?
Please submit your request through the Contact HESC webform. Once your information is received a collection’s representatives will contact you.
Are my defaulted loans receiving the same forbearance period that was included in the federal CARES Act?
HESC is seeking approval to provide its defaulted Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) loan borrowers the same relief that was provided to Federal Direct Loan borrowers. In anticipation of a favorable response, HESC is granting FFELP borrowers forbearance, effective March 24, 2020 through and including September 30, 2020. FAQs will be updated to reflect extensions or updates. Please continue to check back frequently.
I haven't filed my taxes yet, but is HESC going to offset my taxes during the coronavirus emergency?
HESC is seeking approval to provide its defaulted FFELP loan borrowers the same relief that was provided to Federal Direct Loan borrowers. In anticipation of a favorable response, HESC has suspended all federal and state tax offsets through and including September 30, 2020. FAQs will be updated to reflect extensions or updates. Please continue to check back frequently.
How is this going to affect my current rehabilitation arrangements?
The rehabilitation period will be suspended during the suspension period, effective March 24, 2020 through and including September 30, 2020, for borrowers who are in the process rehabilitating defaulted loans.

Borrowers who make nine (9) on-time voluntary payments prior to March 2020 will have their loans rehabilitated in April. During the suspension period, HESC will not treat any payment a borrower fails to make as an interruption in the nine (9) on-time voluntary full monthly payments within 10 months. After the suspension period, your required sequence of qualifying payment may resume at the point at which it was discontinued. Your loans may be rehabilitated at a later date. In addition, payments are suspended and interest is set to 0% during the suspension period. FAQs will be updated to reflect extensions or updates. Please continue to check back frequently.
Are my social security/disability offsets going to stop?
HESC is seeking approval to provide its defaulted FFELP loan borrowers the same relief that was provided to Federal Direct Loan borrowers. In anticipation of a favorable response, HESC has suspended all social security and disability offsets, effective March 24, 2020 through and including September 30, 2020. FAQs will be updated to reflect extensions or updates. Please continue to check back frequently.
I applied for consolidation and I received notification that it has been approved. My servicer sent HESC the funds. When will I receive my loan release?
Please submit your request through the Contact HESC webform. Once your information is received a collection’s representatives will contact you.
Can HESC provide my school and/or me with a letter which indicates I'm no longer in default?
Please submit your request through the Contact HESC webform. Once your information is received a collection’s representatives will contact you.
You were garnishing my wages and now I am not working due to the coronavirus. Can I get a refund of previous garnishments?
Please submit your request through the Contact HESC webform. Once your information is received a collection’s representatives will contact you.
You are garnishing my wages and now because of the coronavirus, my wife is not working. Can you stop the garnishment?
HESC is seeking approval to provide its defaulted FFELP loan borrowers the same relief provided to Federal Direct Loan borrowers. In anticipation of a favorable response, HESC has suspended all administrative wage garnishments, effective March 24, 2020 through and including September 30,2020. FAQs will be updated to reflect extensions or updates. Please continue to check back frequently.
Are HESC business hours being modified during this crisis?
To address the health and safety of its employees, HESC is implementing a work-from-home model during the public health emergency. HESC is also seeking approval to provide its defaulted FFELP loan borrowers the same relief provided to Federal Direct Loan borrowers. In anticipation of a favorable response, HESC has taken the following steps, effective March 24, 2020 through and including September 30, 2020:
  • Setting borrower interest rates to 0 percent.
  • Suspending borrower payments.
  • Applying any borrower payments made during this time to the principal amount of their loan, once all fees and interest accrued prior to March 24, 2020 is paid.
  • Ceasing all outbound collection calls to borrowers. 
  • Ceasing all outbound collection notices and letters to borrowers.
  • Ceasing all administrative wage garnishment, NYS tax offset, and federal tax and benefits offset efforts.

Please continue to check back for any extensions or updates.

If you need assistance, please use the Contact HESC webformOnce your information is received a collection’s representatives will contact you. 

Will you be accepting credit card payments on my defaulted student loan?
HESC is seeking approval to provide its defaulted FFEL loan borrowers the same relief provided to Federal Direct Loan borrowers. In anticipation of a favorable response, HESC has suspended all adverse collections activities. Please see question 11 for all relief currently being offered to HESC’s defaulted student loan borrowers.

If you wish to make a voluntary payment, please use the Contact HESC webform. Once your information is received a collection’s representatives will contact you.
I sent in documentation for a reduced payment, but no one is calling me back. Can someone please call me?
HESC is seeking approval to provide its defaulted FFELP loan borrowers the same relief provided to Federal Direct Loan borrowers. In anticipation of a favorable response, HESC has ceased all adverse collections activities. Please see question 11 for all relief currently being offered to HESC’s defaulted student loan borrowers.

If you need assistance, please use the Contact HESC webform. Once your information is received a collection’s representatives will contact you.
I have a defaulted NYHELPS student loan that I am paying on. Am I eligible for any deferments/forbearance options?
Yes, HESC has suspended adverse collections activities for NYHELPS borrowers, effective March 24, 2020 through and including September 30, 2020. NYHELPs borrowers will receive information about the relief being granted.

The frequently asked questions and answers below, updated regularly, provide lenders and service partners with information during the public health emergency for COVID-19.

How can Default Aversion Assistance Requests (DAAR) and Claims be filed with HESC?
DAARs and Claims can be filed electronically via Common Account Maintenance (CAM) or via email. DAARs should be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Claims to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. HESC will not be sending an acknowledgement for DAARs and Claims filed via email.

Will HESC accept electronic images of collateral and any other required supporting documents?
Yes. Collateral and required supporting documentation should be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. It will be accepted provided it is readable. Given that HESC current policy does not allow acceptance of collateral via email, we may request that these documents are mailed to us at a later date.

Will HESC be processing DAARs and Claims?
Yes. Processing has resumed. All DAARs and claims received while processing was suspended have been updated. To the extent possible, and upon pending approvals from the U.S. Department of Education, HESC will seek to consider the impact of the coronavirus public health emergency regarding DAAR/Claim/Supplemental filing/refiling deadlines. Updated guidance will be provided as it becomes available.

Will HESC offer any considerations regarding DAAR/Claim/Supplemental filing/refiling deadlines?
To the extent possible, and upon pending approvals from the U.S. Department of Education, HESC will seek to consider the impact of the coronavirus public health emergency regarding DAAR/Claim/Supplemental filing/refiling deadlines. Updated guidance will be provided as it becomes available.

Will lenders/servicers experience any type of delay in claim payments?
Claim payment processing has resumed effective April 10, 2020. Claim payments are processed weekly.

Will lenders/servicers have access to borrower information on DMCS or reports stored on the web?
Lenders/servicers will be able to access DMCS and reports.

Should lenders/servicers cease collection activity on HESC-guaranteed loans that are in repayment?
Lenders/servicers should refer to ED’s Dear Colleague Letter GEN-17-08 to determine what actions are available to assist borrowers during this public health emergency.
Yes. Processing has resumed. All DAARs and claims received while processing was suspended have been updated. To the extent possible

A wide range of New York State and Federal Resources are available for students, borrowers and lenders/servicers impacted by coronavirus. We encourage you to visit these websites.

New York State Resources

Federal Resources

Contact HESC

Have Questions? HESC is here to answer your questions. Fill out the form below and we will get back to you.

Please note that due to the high number of inquiries, responses are generally sent within 5 business days. Please allow for this allotted time before sending another inquiry.  Your inquiry is important to us and we appreciate your patience as we navigate the COVID-19 public health emergency.

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