Biden Is Considering Extending Student Loan Pause as Activists Ramp Up Pressure

A top White House official stated last week that the Biden administration was considering extending the student loan payment freeze. It expires on May 1st. The administration was reportedly open to cancelling student debts before repayments resume.

Interview on podcast Pod Save America White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said, “the president is going to look at what we should do on student debt before the pause expires, or he’ll extend the pause.”

Klain appeared to be proud of the current student loan payment pause, boasting that Joe Biden “is the only president in history where no one’s paid on [sic] their student loans for the entirety of his presidency.” He then suggested that the administration will be considering whether or not to cancel student debt before the payments resume.

Activists are putting pressure on Biden to address the student loan crisis. The Debt Collective has planned a day for action in April. announced last weekIf payments begin again in May, the organization will launch a campaign for widespread debt strikes. According to activists, the organization is encouraging people not to pay $0 per month, or even close to it, as most debtors did before the pandemic.

“If President Biden resumes illegitimate student debt payments in May, we will facilitate as many student debtors as possible to safely pay $0 a month to the Department of Education,” Debt Collective co-founder Astra Taylor saidIn a statement

“Whether it’s filing a borrower defense or enrolling in an income driven repayment plan, we are politicizing our refusal to pay as part of our escalation on President Biden,” Taylor continued. “He has the authority to cancel all federal student debt with the flick of a pen. He can end this manufactured crisis today.”

Progressive and Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly urged Biden to act on student debt. Last month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D.Massachusetts), wrote a letter to Miguel Cardona, Education Secretary. Be concernedOver restarting student loan repayments. She noted that there could be communication issues between borrowers as well as loan servicers regarding the end of this freeze.

Many borrowers will face a financial hardship if they have to start student loan payments again. Polling has found that 37 percent of borrowers say that they’re “not at all confident” about their ability to make their payments when they restart in May. Nearly two thirds of borrowers said that they would have to make “major changes” to their finances when payments restart, which could be harmful to the economy and middle- and lower-income families.

The payment pause, however, is very popular and has 82 percent support by student debt holders, Data for Progress and Student Borrower Protection Center.

Biden pledged to cancel student loans up to $10,000 per borrower during his campaign, and lawmakers have been pushing him to cancel as much as $50,000 per person. wipe out student debt altogether. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), said last month that the issue should remain a top priority for Biden. Inaction could lead to costly consequencesThe midterm elections will cost Democrats dearly.

But Biden has been reluctant to take any meaningful action. Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, is the reason. Has even saidAdministration officials consider student loan restarts a priority.

KlainIn April, an interview revealed that the administration would release a memo on the legality to cancel student debt by executive action within days of the interview. The memo was never released and the Debt Collective was not notified. Had to file a Freedom of Information Act request in order to confirm that the memo – which was completely redacted when it was sent to the activists – had existed for months but had been covered up by the administration.