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Biden administration extends pandemic relief for student loan debt through Jan. 31, 2022


(WASHINGTON) — The Biden administration has announced it is extending pandemic relief for student loan repayments, interest and collections through January 31, 2022, referring to it as the “final” extension.

The pause has been in effect since former President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act in March 2020 and was extended by both him and President Joe Biden. It was most recently set to expire on Sept. 30.

“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 in a statement. “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 of Education says the extension will give borrowers time to plan to resume payments and reduce the risk of delinquency and default.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Ayanna Pressley applauded the move in a joint statement Friday afternoon.

“We’re pleased the Biden administration has heeded our call to extend the pause on federally-held student loan payments, providing an enormous relief to millions of borrowers facing a disastrous financial cliff,” they said. “The payment pause has saved the average borrower hundreds of dollars per month, allowing them to invest in their futures and support their families’ needs.”

Still, the group of lawmakers wants the president to go further and use executive action to cancel $50,000 of student debt.

“Student debt cancellation is one of the most significant actions that President Biden can take right now to build a more just economy and address racial inequity,” the statement said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, last month said the president does not have the power to cancel student debt and that only Congress has that authority.

“He can postpone, he can delay, but he does not have that power,” she said at a press conference.

Borrowers will be notified about the new extension “in the coming days” and the Education Department is expected to provide information about how to plan for restarting payments.

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