The Biden administration on Wednesday announced an extension of the pause on federal student loan payments through May 1 amid a surge of COVID-19 cases nationwide due to the omicron variant.
In a statement, the President said his administration views the extension on the pause on federal loan payments until May 1 as a way to help manage the ongoing pandemic and further strengthen the country’s economic recovery. Previously, the administration scheduled payments to resume on Feb. 1.
“We know that millions of student loan borrowers are still coping with the impacts of the pandemic and need some more time before resuming payments. This is an issue Vice President Harris has been closely focused on, and one we both care deeply about,” Biden said.
“Given these considerations, 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,” the President continued.
The President’s announcement comes after mounting calls for his administration to extend the moratorium on payments that was set to expire at the end of next month, something the administration initially expressed reluctance to do. Last August, the Department of Education issued its fourth suspension of federal student loan payments during the pandemic, saying at the time that it would be the final suspension for borrowers.
Shortly after Biden’s announcement, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Ayanna Presley (D-MA) applauded the administration’s extension while continuing their demands that the administration cancel up to $50,000 in student debt.
“We’re pleased the Biden administration has heeded our call to extend the pause on student loan payments. As we stated in our December 8th letter, the pause on federal student loan payments, interest, and collections has improved borrowers’ economic security, allowing them to invest in their families, save for emergencies, and pay down other debt,” the Democratic lawmakers said in a statement. “Extending the pause will help millions of Americans make ends meet, especially as we overcome the Omicron variant. 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.”