(NewsNation) — The U.S. Department of Education has extended the pause on federal student loan payments while the White House battles in court to save President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel portions of the debt, according to a news release Tuesday.
“Payments will resume 60 days after the Department is permitted to implement the (loan forgiveness program) or the litigation is resolved,” the release from the education department read.
If the program isn’t implemented and the litigation has not been resolved by June 30, 2023, then the repayments will begin 60 days after that.
The pandemic-era payment pause was set to expire Jan. 1, a date that Biden set before his debt cancellation plan stalled in the face of legal challenges from conservative opponents.
“Callous efforts to block student debt relief in the courts have caused tremendous financial uncertainty for millions of borrowers who cannot set their family budgets or even plan for the holidays without a clear picture of their student debt obligations, and it’s just plain wrong,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan was not approved by Congress. The president’s legal argument relied on an interpretation of the HEROES ACT — federal legislation that allows the secretary of education to waive or modify terms of federal loans in times of war or national emergency.
Lawyers for the administration contend the COVID-19 pandemic created a national emergency and therefore the education secretary has the authority to cancel the debt.
The loan forgiveness program is now on hold after an appeals court panel agreed to a preliminary injunction earlier this month.
The program, if permitted in its current form, is expected to cost about $400 billion over the next three decades, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.