March 17, 2022
White House chief of staff Ron Klain recently hinted that President Joe Biden may once again extend the pause on student loan payments, which is currently set to expire on May 1. “The president is going to look at what we should do on student debt before the pause expires, or he’ll extend the pause,” said Klain on the podcast Pod Save America.
While Klain’s comment might be interpreted as an offhand remark intended to please a left-wing host, there are other indications that the administration is seriously considering another extension of the payment pause. Politico reported earlier this month that the Department of Education has instructed loan servicers not to notify borrowers about the resumption of payments on May 1.
If Biden does extend the payment pause again, the decision will be indefensible. The moratorium on student loan payments began in March 2020 as part of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But even as other economic relief programs have wound down, the pause endured.
The Department of Education has already extended the pause several times. It described the second-most-recent extension, to Feb. 1 of this year, as “final.” Yet the administration chose to extend the pause once again, this time citing the omicron variant of COVID-19. As of this writing, federal student loan borrowers have gone over two years without making a required payment.