With President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan held up in courts, his administration has decided to extend the student loan repayment pause — originally set to expire at the end of 2022 — into 2023.
Payments will resume 60 days after the litigation is resolved. If the Biden administration is still defending its policy in the courts by the end of June, or if it’s unable to move forward with forgiving student debt by then, payments will pick up at the end of August.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, borrowers have been more or less off the hook for federal student loan payments. The repayment pause has been extended multiple times since March 13, 2020, but the previous extension to December 31 of this year was supposed to be the last.
In hopes of implementing the program as soon as possible, the administration asked the Supreme Court to look into the matter. "I'm confident that our student debt relief plan is legal. But it's on hold because Republican officials want to block it," Biden tweeted. "That's why [Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona] is extending the payment pause to no later than [60 days after] June 30, 2023, giving the Supreme Court time to hear the case in its current term."
Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan was announced in August 2022, but it was quickly met with Republican opposition. It would forgive up to $10,000 in federal student loan for low-to-middle-income borrowers and up to $20,000 for qualifying Pell Grant recipients.
However, in November a federal judge in Texas declared the forgiveness program unlawful, a decision which the Department of Justice quickly appealed.
A separate injunction was also issued by a federal appeals court on behalf of six states. The states argue that if borrowers don’t have to pay their outstanding balances, financial institutions will suffer harm.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona called Republican efforts to block the relief "callous" and "just plain wrong."
"I want borrowers to know that the Biden-Harris administration has their backs and we're as committed as ever to fighting to deliver essential student debt relief to tens of millions of Americans," Cardona said in a statement.