Biden administration extends student loan payment pause

The Biden administration is giving Americans a “final extension” on the suspension of their student loan repayment that will last until January 31, 2022, the Education Department announced Friday. 

The pandemic-induced extension includes loan repayments, interest and collections. As recently as Thursday, the department had no updates on the status of the pause that was scheduled to end on September 30. 

“The payment pause has been a lifeline that allowed millions of Americans to focus on their families, health, and finances instead of student loans during the national emergency,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement. “As our nation’s economy continues to recover from a deep hole, this final extension will give students and borrowers the time they need to plan for restart and ensure a smooth pathway back to repayment.”

The Education Department says it will begin to notify borrowers about the extension soon. The student loan repayment pause began under the Trump administration, as the pandemic surged, and President Biden had extended it on his first day in office.

A group of Democratic lawmakers called on the president to extend the pause in June, in a letter signed by more than 60 members of Congress. They wanted him to allow Americans to suspend their student loan payments for a longer period of time — through March or whenever employment reaches pre-pandemic levels.