The White House is expected to announce on Wednesday that they will extend the pause on federal student loan payments through August 31, 2022, according to reporting from the Associated Press.
The repayment moratorium has been extended multiple times since it was first put in place in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The current pause was set to expire on May 1.
Just last week, nearly 100 lawmakers led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter to Biden asking him to extend the pause “until at least the end of the year.”
“Given the fast-approaching deadline for borrowers to resume payments, your administration must act as quickly as possible to extend the pause and make clear to the American public your intention to cancel a meaningful amount of student debt. We look forward to supporting your administration in getting it done,” wrote the lawmakers.
The moratorium has allowed millions of Americans, hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, to postpone payments. The extension would apply to more than 43 million Americans who owe a combined $1.6 trillion in student debt held by the federal government, according to the latest data from the Education Department.
Last month, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said more time is needed to help Americans prepare for repayment and to rethink the government’s existing system for repaying student debt.
“It is ruining lives and holding people back,” she said in a statement last month. “Borrowers are struggling with rising costs, struggling to get their feet back under them after public health and economic crises, and struggling with a broken student loan system — and all this is felt especially hard by borrowers of color.”
Other Democratic lawmakers have pressed Biden to use executive action to cancel $50,000 for all student loan borrowers, saying it would jumpstart the economy and help Black borrowers who, on average, face higher levels of student debt.
Biden has said he supports canceling up to $10,000, but he argued it should be done through congressional action.