Biden Directs DoED to Pause Federal Student Loan Payments Until September

January 21, 2021 by Sara Wilkerson
U.S. Dept. of Education. (Photo by Dan McCue)

President Joe Biden has directed the Department of Education to extend its pause on federal student loan payments and collections until September 30, 2021. 

The directive was part of a series of executive orders that the newly sworn in president signed during his first few days in office. It also directs the department to  keep student loan interest rates at 0% through the same period.

At the time of the request, a spokesman at the department released a statement stating, “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.” 

The continued pause on student loan payments falls in line with previous actions taken since the start of the pandemic.  

Back in March, the CARES Act, a bipartisan joint effort to help Americans in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, provided several relief measures for student loan borrowers, including:  

  • Suspension of loan payments 
  • Suspension of collections on defaulted loans 
  • Interest rates were set to 0% for a period of 60 days 

The initial pause set by the CARES Act lasted until Sept. 30, 2020, with subsequent extensions that were ordered until Dec. 31, 2020 then Jan. 31, 2021.  

With the new extension set by the Biden administration, the same relief measures apply, except the 60-day provision placed on interest rates was eliminated and instead was extended for eight months alongside the other relief measures.  

The new extension of student loan forbearance comes amid a series of executive actions that President Biden has taken in his first two days of office.  

These actions include multiple reversals of executive orders implemented by the Trump administration, a mandate requiring masks to be worn on federal property, an extension of foreclosure and eviction moratoriums, and others.  

The latest request of the student loan forbearance was fulfilled by acting secretary of Education Philip H. Rosenfelt, who remains as acting secretary until Biden’s pick to head the department, Michael Cardona, is confirmed by Congress. 

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