The Biden administration confirmed the pause on student loan repayment has been extended into 2023 to allow time for the debt forgiveness court cases to get settled.
The Biden administration has officially extended the pandemic-era student loan payment pause until June of 2023. The pause was first enacted by former President Donald Trump during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and has been extended a number of times since. In August of 2022, when Biden announced his student loan cancelation plan, he also announced that he would extend that payment pause until Dec. 31, 2022 — for the final time. But now, following lawsuits that have tied up the plan to cancel federal debt for borrowers, the Biden administration has announced that it would extend the payment pause again.
Following a letter signed by more than 200 national, state, and local organizations warning of the disastrous outcome should the payment pause not be extended before it was set to end, the new date will safeguard millions of borrowers as the student loan forgiveness program waits in court limbo. Here’s what you need to know.
How Long Is The Student Loan Pandemic Payment Pause Extended For?
On Nov. 22, 2022, the Biden administration confirmed that the pause on student loan repayments had been extended. Instead of expiring at the end of this year, when the student loan forgiveness program was set to begin in the new year, one final extension has been granted, halting payments until at least June 30, 2023.
The loan payment pause will also last at least 60 days until after the litigation is resolved, ostensibly to give borrowers time to apply for student loan debt forgiveness, get those loans forgiven, and have their new balances set before payments resume. If the litigation isn’t resolved and the program hasn’t been implemented by June 30, payments will still begin 60 days after that — at least for now.
What’s Going On With The Student Loan Lawsuits?
The new date comes as the student loan forgiveness program — which would see between $10,000 to $20,000 in debt relief per student borrower who doesn’t exceed a certain income threshold — has been stalled due to legal cases in several states. In early November, a Texas judge struck down the forgiveness plan; then, it was struck down again in St. Louis’ Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
These lawsuits aim to have the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness plan completely overturned, with those against it claiming the President is overstepping his authority with the debt forgiveness program.
“The Administration will continue to fight these baseless lawsuits by Republican officials and special interests and will never stop fighting to support working and middle-class Americans,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre previously said.
However, while Biden is “completely confident” his loan forgiveness plan is legal, he acknowledges that the time it will take for the case to be heard in the courts will financially harm thousands of Americans.
“It isn’t fair to ask tens of millions of borrowers eligible for relief to resume their student debt payments while the courts consider the lawsuit,” Biden said in a video posted to Twitter announcing the extension.
The pause on student loan repayments will give enough time for the case to be litigated in the Supreme Court in the current term, Biden said, according to CNN.
The student loan payment pause has been extended eight times since it began in March 2020.