After more than 75,000 people asked Sallie Mae to stop charging forbearance fees tounemployed college students via an online petition, theeducation-focused financial services company made a compromise.

Now, Sallie Mae student loan borrowers who suspend theirpayments won’t be required to pay forbearance fees until after theyresume regular payments, the company said. Previously, Sallie Maeasked borrowers for an immediate forbearance fee payment of $50 forevery three-month delayed payment time period, for a maximum of$150.

“We have been giving it careful consideration for some time, andwill now apply the good-faith payment to the customers’ balanceafter they resume a track record of on-time payments,” PatriciaChristel, spokesperson for Sallie Mae, said in an email to CreditUnion Times. “The change will be retroactive to private loanforbearances granted on or after Jan. 1.”

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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha Chilingerian has been immersed in the credit union industry for over a decade. She first joined CU Times in 2011 as a freelance writer, and following a two-year hiatus from 2013-2015, during which time she served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta Federal Credit Union), she re-joined the CU Times team full-time as managing editor. She was promoted to executive editor in 2019. In the earlier days of her career, Chilingerian focused on news and lifestyle journalism, serving as a writer and editor for numerous regional publications in Oregon, Louisiana, South Carolina and the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, she holds experience in marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space. At CU Times, she covers People and Community news, cybersecurity, fintech partnerships, marketing, workplace culture, leadership, DEI, branch strategies, digital banking and more. She currently works remotely and splits her time between Southern California and Portland, Ore.