Education Department Extends Student Loan Repayment Pause
Millions of Americans who are saddled with student loan debt are breathing a little easier as of Friday afternoon after the United States Department of Education announced an extension of its repayment pause until the end of January of next year.
The decision was made at the request of President Joe Biden.
“The payment pause has been a lifeline that allowed millions of Americans to focus on their families, health, and finances instead of student loans during the national emergency. As our nation’s economy continues to recover from a deep hole, this final extension will give students and borrowers the time they need to plan for a restart and ensure a smooth pathway back to repayment,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement.
The fight for permanent relief, however, is far from over.
“Today’s announcement is welcome news for tens of millions of student loan borrowers; but now the work on their behalf starts in earnest,” Student Borrower Protection Center Executive Director Seth Frotman remarked.
This latest extension is the final one and borrowers will need to resume making their payments in February of 2022.
Some advocates are encouraging the president to cancel whatever debt he can.
“While today’s announcement provides some financial security for borrowers and their families as they recover from job losses, reduced hours, or shut down businesses, the reality is that the President can do much more,” said Natalia Abrams, the executive director of Student Debt Crisis. “President Biden has the legal authority to cancel student debt through executive action and we are building an unprecedented movement urging him to take such action before payments resume on January 31, 2022.”
As of 2020, there is $1.57 trillion in outstanding student loan debt in the United States, which averages $37,584 per borrower.