WASHINTON D.C. -- The Trump administration is already offering a reprieve to student loan borrowers during the coronavirus outbreak, including letting them temporarily stop their payments. Now, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are looking to extend the relief even further.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Education announced they are setting the interest rate at zero percent on federal student loans until at least mid-May.

During that same timeframe, borrowers can opt to pause their monthly payments without penalty. In order to take advantage of this offering, however, individuals must take action.

“That’s something you have to call for. You have to reach out and talk to your servicer, and explain your financial situation and let them know about the hardship you're facing,” said Bruce McClary.

McClary is vice president of communications at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), a non-profit financial advising organization.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers are looking to extend that reprieve on federal loan payments for an even longer period of time.

As part of the $2 trillion recovery bill passed by the U.S. Senate, payments will be waived for six months through the end of September. That plan still requires approval by the House.

Both the administration and congressional plans only apply to federally-held loans - not private ones. However, McClary says it is always a good idea to reach out to servicers to see what options might be available for private loans.

“You can ask for the same things and see if the lender will offer you programs that mirror what is being offered for federal borrowers,” he said.

Outside of the coronavirus response, McClary says there are other ways to make repaying loans more affordable in the long-term, including through income-driven repayment plans.

His advice: contact your loan servicer and see what breaks might be available.

“Otherwise you’re not making the best use of your dollars, and I’m sure there are other things you need to be focusing on besides student loans that might be able to use some attention as well,” McClary said.