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President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that his administration will extend the moratorium on student loan repayments until May. Loan repayment was set to begin at the start of February after President Biden announced last week he would not lengthen the moratorium.
The quick reversal comes after intense pressure from progressives and millions of Americans infuriated by Biden’s initial announcement.
In a statement posted to social media, President Biden wrote:
“Today, my Administration is extending the pause on federal student loan repayments for an additional 90 days – through May 1st.”
Biden said the decision comes “as we manage the ongoing pandemic and further strengthen our economic recovery”.
The news will come as welcome relief to the more than 40 million Americans with college loan debt. Still, the extension is likely to increase calls for student loan forgiveness before May.
Student loan forgiveness becoming an increasingly popular topic among voters
On the campaign trail last year, President Biden promised Americans he would eliminate $10,000 in student debt for all federal borrowers.
While Biden does have the executive power to do that on his own, he is instead waiting on Congress. Congressional approval of loan forgiveness, however, appears unlikely.
There are nearly 43 million individuals with federal student loan debt. Most of these Americans have, on average, roughly $37,000 of debt. In total, Americans owe the federal government more than $1.5 Trillion in unpaid loans. Many in favor of loan forgiveness argue that relieving Americans of this debt would provide a boost to the economy.
The notion of some type of student loan forgiveness is becoming increasingly popular among American voters.
Recent polls show that at more than 62% of Americans approve of some form of student loan forgiveness. As the nation enters midterm election season, loan forgiveness is likely to play a central role in the conversation.