President Joe Biden’s administration is extending the moratorium on federal student loan payments until January 2022, the Education Department announced Friday.
The moratorium, which covers the overwhelming majority of student loans in the United States, began under President Donald Trump shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began. Upon taking office earlier this year, Biden extended it until the end of September.
The administration is emphasizing that this will be the final extension of the payment pause. The Education Department — which oversees $1.4 trillion worth of student loan debt held by more than 40 million borrowers — said in a statement that setting a definitive end date for the moratorium will give both borrowers and loan servicers time to prepare for payments to restart.
“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 restart and ensure a smooth pathway back to repayment,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said.
Congressional Democrats, led by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), had pressured Biden to extend the moratorium. Many lawmakers clamoring for the administration to extend the moratorium were progressives, but some moderates — including Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) — also backed an extension.
Pressley, Schumer and Warren applauded Biden’s decision in a statement, but also pushed for the administration to go further. They said they looked “forward to hearing the administration’s next steps to address the student debt crisis.”
“While this temporary relief is welcome, it doesn’t go far enough,” the trio said. “Our broken student loan system continues to exacerbate racial wealth gaps and hold back our entire economy.”
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