With pressure from advocates and lawmakers, the Biden administration just announced a “final extension” on the moratorium on federal student loan payments until Jan. 31st of next year.
As I reported yesterday, with the success of progressives’ fight for the Biden administration to extend the federal eviction moratorium by 60 days, led by Rep. Cori Bush, they are hoping to use this momentum to also help those in student loan debt.
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, writes HuffPost.
“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 restart and ensure a smooth pathway back to repayment,” says U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
According to NPR, a Pew Charitable Trusts survey conducted this spring, when the moratorium was still set to expire on Sept. 30, two-thirds of respondents said they’d have a tough time affording payments once the freeze was lifted.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are all continuing to push even further to cancel student debt.
“While this temporary relief is welcome, it doesn’t go far enough. Our broken student loan system continues to exacerbate racial wealth gaps and hold back our entire economy,” they said.