Biden Extends Student Loan Payment Deferrals Until October
Joe Biden has further extended the suspension of student loan repayments until October this year.
On his first day in office, yesterday, January 20, Biden instructed the Department of Education to extend the pause, which has already been in place since March 2020. It also waives interest on loans during this period.
‘At the request of President Biden, the Acting Secretary of Education will extend the pause on federal student loan payments and collections and keep the interest rate at 0%,’ the White House said in its statement.
‘Too many Americans are struggling to pay for basic necessities and to provide for their families. They should not be forced to choose between paying their student loans and putting food on the table,’ it added.
The benefit was originally set to expire in September but was extended by Trump until January 31 before he left office. It applies to federal student loans which were issued by the Department of Education.
Biden has been a strong advocate for student loan relief. During his campaign, he proposed that Congress cancel $10,000 of all student loans.
‘Immediate $10,000 forgiveness of student loans. They’re having to make choices between paying their student loan and paying the rent … It should be done immediately,’ he told reporters in November.
Two Democratic senators, Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren have gone one step further in calling for a cancellation of $50,000 in student loan debt per person.
They have said it would provide relief to millions of people during the pandemic, urging Biden to bypass Congress and take the action.
‘Biden-Harris can cancel billions of dollars in student loan debt, giving tens of millions of Americans an immediate financial boost and helping to close the racial wealth gap. This is the single most effective executive action available for massive economic stimulus,’ Warren wrote in a tweet.
The proposal has been criticised by former education secretary Betsy Devos, who likened the cancellation to ‘a socialist takeover of higher education’.
Devos described the calls to ‘cancel’, to ‘forgive’, to ‘make [higher education] all free’ as an ‘insidious notion of government gift-giving’.
The pause on student loans is just one of many actions Biden has already taken since taking his presidential oath yesterday.
The president has signed a number of executive orders, some reversing some of Trump’s most notorious policies.
These include the revoking of the so-called ‘Muslim ban’, which had restricted immigration into the US from seven Muslim-majority countries. He also signed an order under which the US has rejoined the Paris climate accord.
Additionally, he halted all construction on Trump’s US-Mexico border wall and recommitted the US to the World Health Organization.
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