When President Joe Biden’s administration initially announced its plan for widespread student loan forgiveness in August, it also said the current pause on loan repayments would be the last and that payments would restart in January 2023.
But student debt relief is currently on hold as court orders block the forgiveness program. Earlier this month, the Department of Education removed the loan forgiveness application from its website.
That’s left some people wondering if the payment pause that was set to expire soon will also be extended, Google search data show.
Is the Biden administration extending the student loan payment pause?
Yes, the Biden administration announced on Nov. 22 that it is extending the student loan repayment pause to no later than June 30, 2023.
WHAT WE FOUND
The current student loan repayment pause will be extended until June 30, 2023, or until legal challenges are resolved and the Department of Education is allowed to implement the debt relief plan – whichever is sooner, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a tweet on Nov. 22.
This extension gives the U.S. Supreme Court an opportunity to hear the case on the student loan forgiveness plan during its current term following a request from the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Education and President Biden said.
Student loan payments would restart 60 days after the pause ends in both cases.
The Department is extending the repayment pause because “it would be deeply unfair to ask borrowers to pay a debt that they wouldn’t have to pay” were it not for lawsuits making their way through the courts, Cardona said in a statement.
Payments have been paused for borrowers with eligible student loans since March 13, 2020. Prior to the most recent announcement, payments were set to restart on Jan. 1, 2023.
During the pause, student loan borrowers are not required to make monthly payments and their loans will not accumulate interest.
The Department of Education has already approved student debt relief for 16 million federal borrowers, it said in the press release announcing the repayment pause extension. But court orders are currently blocking the department from discharging student debt relief or accepting new applications.
“I’m completely confident my plan is legal,” Biden said in a video posted to Twitter announcing the repayment pause. “But right now, it’s on hold because of these lawsuits.”
On Nov. 10, 2022, a U.S. district court judge in Texas sided with the plaintiffs in Brown v. U.S. Department of Education, a lawsuit in which the plaintiffs were asking to halt the student loan forgiveness program. The plaintiffs argue that the Department of Education illegally ignored the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment requirement, which requires federal agencies to seek public comment before rulemaking.
The judge blocked the forgiveness program after declaring it was “unlawful.” The Biden administration is appealing that ruling.