Biden asks student loan borrowers to ‘do their part’ to prepare for payments

  • Biden has extended the student loan payment break by three months until May 1.
  • He said borrowers should use this extra time to prepare for resumption of payments.
  • But some lawmakers and advocates have said this extra time should be used to write off student debt.

President Joe Biden gave 43 million federal student loan borrowers a Christmas gift of three more months of relief last month.

While the president said borrowers should use this extra time to prepare for the resumption of payments on May 1, some lawmakers and advocates have said it should be used to write off student debt instead.

On December 22, the Education Department announced it would move the scheduled date for resuming student loan payments from February 1 to May 1, citing the Omicron coronavirus variant as the main reason for the change. While this announcement does not specify whether this would be the “final” extension, unlike the August announcement, Biden urged federal borrowers in a statement to use the extra time to prepare for repayment in 90 days.

“As we take this step, I call on all student loan borrowers to do their part: Make full use of the resources of the Department of Education to help you prepare for resumption of payments; examine options for reducing your payments through income repayment plans based on repayment plans; explore the cancellation of civil service loans; and make sure you’re vaccinated and boosted when you’re eligible, ”Biden said in December.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona echoed the sentiment, saying in a statement that the ministry “will continue to provide tools and support for borrowers so they can commit to a repayment plan tailored to their needs. their financial situation, such as an income-based repayment plan.

Along with the extension comes the nearly $ 12 billion in student debt that Biden has written off for targeted groups of borrowers, such as those scammed by for-profit schools, since taking office. But advocates and some lawmakers say it is not enough to tackle the $ 1.7 trillion crisis.

“Americans Cannot Be Crushed With Student Debt” During COVID-19

Leading lawmakers on blanket student debt cancellation have applauded Biden’s extension of the payment break. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley said in a statement the hiatus allowed borrowers to “make ends meet” and get basic necessities. , but they still want Biden to keep his loan forgiveness campaign promise.

“We continue to call on President Biden to take executive action to write off $ 50,000 in student debt, which will help close the racial wealth gap for borrowers and accelerate our economic recovery,” lawmakers said.

Student loan forgiveness advocates have agreed. Natalia Abrams, president of the Student Debt Crisis Center, said in a statement that the Omicron variant is “a chilling reminder that the pandemic is still a serious concern and that Americans cannot be crushed by student debt as they endure. this health and economic crisis “.

While Biden has pledged during his campaign to approve a $ 10,000 student loan forgiveness, he has yet to deliver on that promise, and some lawmakers have said it could cost Democrats a majority in the mid-election. term of 2022. New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said last month that it was “really illusory” to think Democrats can be re-elected if they don’t act on voters’ priorities, like student debt.

Vice President Kamala Harris responded to advocates’ concerns in a “Face the Nation” interview late last month, saying the administration must continue to be “vigilant” on the matter, but did not provide of specific way to get relief for borrowers.

“Well, I think we need to keep doing what we’re doing and find out how we can creatively relieve the pressure that students are feeling because of their student loan debt,” Harris said.

How does the extended suspension of student loan payments impact you? Share your story with Ayelet Sheffey at [email protected]

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