Biden extends student loan payment freeze as debt forgiveness program stalls in court
Higher Ed Dive
November 22, 2022
The U.S. Department of Education announced Tuesday it will extend a moratorium on student loan borrowers’ monthly payments, citing the Biden administration’s plan to forgive mass amounts of debt being held up in court.
The pandemic-era freeze, which the Trump administration first put in place, was due to expire Dec. 31. Now, it will continue until the Education Department is allowed to implement the debt relief program or lawsuits against the debt forgiveness effort are resolved.
Payments are now set to resume 60 days after one of two events — either the courts allowing the debt forgiveness program to start clearing balances or June 30, 2023, whichever comes first, the Education Department said.
The White House had intended to wind down the repayment moratorium by the end of the year. It had grown deeply unpopular among conservatives, who said it was expensive and that the effects of the pandemic had waned enough that the pause was no longer necessary.
Republicans pointed to an interview President Joe Biden did in September in which he declared “the pandemic is over.”
However, this was all before lawsuits halted Biden’s loan forgiveness program, which would wipe away $10,000 in debt for individual borrowers earning up to $125,000. Those who received federal Pell Grants — a proxy for low-income status — would get up to $20,000 in relief.