November 16, 2022
Student debt relief advocates are ramping up calls for President Biden to extend the student loan payment pause, and news reports suggest that the White House is listening.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that White House aides were considering an extension of the pause that’s been in place since March 2020; however, the discussions are preliminary and the White House declined to comment. The pause currently is slated to end Dec. 31 with payments resuming Jan. 1.
Advocates have been pressing to keep loan payments paused after a federal judge in Texas declared the debt relief unconstitutional and a federal appeals court issued a preliminary injunction. In fact, advocates have argued that payments shouldn’t resume until lawsuits challenging the debt relief plan are resolved.
“Until the administration can deliver on debt cancellation, it really cannot turn on payments,” said Persis Yu, deputy executive director and managing counsel for the Student Borrower Protection Center.
When Biden announced his plan for student loan forgiveness in August, he tied the move to ending the payment pause. In court filings, the administration has argued that vulnerable borrowers were likely to default on their student loans as a result of the pandemic, making the $10,000 or $20,000 of loan cancellation necessary so that individuals won’t be worse off.
“I think the administration was absolutely right in its reasoning that restarting repayment is going to have a devastating effect financially on borrowers,” Yu said. “Cancellation is necessary to buffer that negative effect. It would be absolutely devastating to the finances of student loan borrowers to just restart repayment in January.”