WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Federal student loan payments will remain paused until September 30, 2021.
Payments were first paused on March 20, 2020, by an executive order from former President Donald Trump. It was then signed into law under the CARES Act and renewed several times. Most recently, President Joe Biden extended payment loan forbearance on Jan. 20.
In addition to suspending all payments on Education Department-backed loans, interest rates were set to 0% for all debt owed federally.
Approximately 47.9 million people have some form of student loan debt, with 45.5 million owning something to the federal government, according to the US Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid.
The total amount of federal student loan debt in the U.S. is $1.57 trillion.
Loans that qualify for the suspension include:
- Defaulted and nondefaulted Direct Loans owned by ED
- Defaulted and nondefaulted FFEL Program loans owned by ED
- Defaulted FFEL Program loans managed by guaranty agencies
- Defaulted and nondefaulted Federal Perkins Loans owned by ED
- Defaulted HEAL loans owned by ED
The Biden administration has not stated if they intend to renew the pause once it expires on Sept. 30, 2021. Advocates have encouraged President Joe Biden to instead cancel some student loan debt.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), among other high figures in Congress, have encouraged the president to cancel $50,000 of debt. Biden previously has voiced support for canceling $10,000 of debt.
In an interview with Politico, Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, stated the president has asked Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to prepare a report on the constitutionality of the $50,000 debt cancellation by executive order.
Currently, there are programs in place from the Biden administration that cancel student loan debt for those defrauded by a for-profit college and disabled veterans.