The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is easing the financial burdens of many of the 98,000 students in 75 countries who benefit from the faith’s Perpetual Education Fund (PEF). Loan payments and interest charges have been deferred since May 1, 2020, and will continue to be paused until November 2020 because of the rough financial waters brought about by COVID-19.

PEF is a financial resource that helps Latter-day Saints of all ages obtain education and skills that enable self-reliance. The program is funded by Church members and friends of the faith. Money is loaned to an individual to help pay for education and training. After a student graduates and is employed, he or she pays back the loan so others have the opportunity to participate in the program.

PEF beneficiaries around the world have expressed gratitude for this temporary adjustment.

“We are struggling to get enough money for our current necessities, like bills, food and mortgage,” said Jessica Pacete, who received her bachelor’s degree in mining engineering from Saint Paul University Suriago in the Philippines. “Indeed, I am so thankful and grateful for the COVID-19 deferment for six months. It is a great help for me to not think so much of my monthly commitment until November 2020.”

Marlou Ronato, who completed an accounting degree from the University of Luzon in the Philippines, has been unable to find employment to keep up with his PEF payments. “I am thankful that PEF offered COVID-19 deferment that was applied in my account,” he said. “I thank Heavenly Father for this opportunity that I can continue my studies with the help and consideration of PEF.”

PEF program manager Trent Jacobson says thousands of loan participants like Jessica and Marlou are receiving similar financial relief through this COVID-19 deferment program.

“This temporary PEF change will keep participants safe and help weather the economic storms upon many of us throughout the world,” he said.

Three additional temporary adjustments will aid PEF participants during the pandemic:

Late Payment Period Extended 90 Days

The limit on the number of days late a PEF participant can be to receive a new financial disbursement for school has been temporarily increased from 29 to 120 days.

Additional Options for Financial Disbursement Requests

When they are unable to safely procure requisite paperwork to make a disbursement request, participants can ask about other options to make a request. This may include other digital documentation.

More Paths to Obtain Leader Endorsements

Church leader endorsement forms are still required to obtain additional PEF loan disbursements. Because some local Church leaders may be unable to print out and sign the form at home, documents not signed by the participant can be temporarily accepted. If the bishop or branch president is unable to safely sign the form, he can send an email. In extreme cases, a counselor to a bishop may sign or send the endorsement.

The Church will reassess these changes in November 2020.

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