In a move to keep the economy recovering at a steady pace, the Biden Administration—which had paused federal student loan repayments for millions of Americans to the end of September—has announced it is extending that pause one final time through January 31, 2022 at 0% interest. Collections have also been suspended.
As today’s jobs numbers show, we have the tools that will allow us to beat COVID-19 and keep our economy recovering at a record rate. But we know there is more work to do and the road will still be long for many people – especially for the one in six adults and one in three young people who have federal student loans,” said President Biden in a statement.
“This will give the Department of Education and borrowers more time and more certainty as they prepare to restart student loan payments. It will also ensure a smoother transition that minimizes loan defaults and delinquencies that hurt families and undermine our economic recovery.”
Over 36 million Americans who have student loans held by the federal government totaling upwards of $1.3 trillion, and according to a recent report from the Center for American Progress 45% of borrowers in default have not found a path to return their loan to good credit standing.
Last month, 23 Democratic lawmakers—including Senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren—shared their concerns with the Department of Education. Specifically, what steps would be taken to protect borrowers’ wages and benefits when payments resume.
“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,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “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. It is the Department’s priority to support students and borrowers during this transition and ensure they have the resources they need to access affordable, high quality higher education.”
The Department has said it would begin notifying borrowers of the final extension in the coming days, and it would also release resources and information about how to plan for payment restart as the end of the pause approaches.