Biden Administration Extends Federal Student Loan Moratorium Through August, As Democrats Push for Longer
Initially scheduled to expire next month, the repayment freeze, which began at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, will remain in place through the end of August.
The Biden administration announced that it is extending the pause on federal student loan payments through August 31, with the President taking to Twitter to share the news via video.
Vice President Kamala Harris also put out a statement online, tweeting that she and Biden “understand that student loan debt adds stress for borrowers and their families,” adding, “This pause will help 41 million people keep up with their monthly bills and meet their basic needs.”
The repayment freeze, which began at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, was scheduled to expire next month. Since the start of the freeze, student loan borrowers have not been required to make payments on most federal student loans, their interest has stopped accumulating, and collections on defaulted debt have remained on hold.
Members of Biden’s administration and consumer advocates have pressed the president to move the date once again, or to cancel it “once and for all,” citing inflation and ongoing supply chain issues.
Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to the president as recently as March 31, urging him to extend the pause until at least the end of the year.
“Over 43 million Americans are burdened by more than $1.7 trillion in student loan debt. Of that collective debt, women carry two-thirds of it while earning 82 cents to every dollar that a man makes,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) tweeted last week.
GOP members, meanwhile, are criticizing the extension, deeming it unjustified despite Biden’s emphasis on the strength of the economy.
“President Biden’s perpetual student loan payment moratorium is an insult to every American who responsibly paid debts. There’s no free lunch: this reckless move puts taxpayers on the hook for billions,” Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) tweeted on Tuesday.
A group of demonstrators from various coalitions and organizations congregated in front of the U.S. Department of Education in Washington D.C. on Monday to call on Biden to cancel student debt. Following the most recently implemented extension, many social media users are praising the pause, observing its benefits, such as improved credit scores.