President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that his administration will extend the pause on student loan repayment in the United States until May 1, 2022, in response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a statement from the president released by the White House, pausing loan repayments is part of the country’s economic recovery.
“Today my administration is extending the pause on federal student loan repayments for an additional 90 days — through May 1, 2022 — as we manage the ongoing pandemic and further strengthen our economic recovery,” Biden said in a statement.
The Department of Education will continue working with borrowers to ensure they are adequately supported to “transition smoothly back into repayment and advance economic stability for their own households and for our nation,” Biden said.
In the statement, Biden urged borrowers to take advantage of the department’s resources, such as options to lower payments through income-based repayment plans and public service loan forgiveness.
This is not the first time the Biden administration has extended the loan repayment pause. In August, it was extended through January 31.
The forbearance has benefited millions across the country. According to Reuters, nearly 41 million borrowers benefited from the freeze on interest accruals, and about 27 million borrowers have not had to pay their monthly bills since the pause began.
The administration’s decision has been welcomed by Democratic lawmakers. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Elizabeth Warren issued a joint statement applauding the announcement but also urging the president to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt.
“We continue to call on President Biden to take executive action to cancel $50,000 in student debt, which will help close the racial wealth gap for borrowers and accelerate our economic recovery,” they said.
The president, however, has made it clear several times he does not support such an initiative. During a town hall with CNN in February, in response to other Democrats’ idea to cancel $50,000 in student debt per borrower, he said, “I will not make that happen.”
The extension in the loan repayment pause comes as the U.S. addresses the surge in COVID-19 cases spurring from the spread of the omicron variant. With the holidays nearing, anxieties over the virus have increased and more Americans are getting tested daily ahead of family gatherings and celebrations.
Despite worries over what the omicron variant means for the nation, President Biden assured Americans in a nationwide address Tuesday that a complete shutdown like that of March 2020 is not imminent.
Some information for this report came from Reuters.