That’s how many extra days student loan borrowers have before they’re expected to resume payments, now that the government has extended the reprieve through May 1.
President Joe Biden said Wednesday he is extending the deadline for a fifth time because borrowers affected by the pandemic’s economic upheavals need more time to prepare. The extension from the previous Jan. 31 deadline will help the government assess the impact on borrowers of the spread of COVID-19’s omicron variant, Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement.
Extending the deadline seemed less likely earlier this month when White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration was considering the impact of omicron, but that borrowers should prepare to resume payments. It’s also a reversal from August, when Biden last extended the deadline and said it was “final”—a word that does not appear in the announcements the White House and the Department of Education issued Wednesday.
Borrowers have been allowed to skip payments and interest on federal student loans since March 2020. As the Jan. 31 deadline approached, advocates and progressive politicians called on Biden to extend the reprieve and go a step further by using his executive authority to forgive $50,000 of student loan debt. (On the campaign trail, Biden had promised relief of more than $10,000 per borrower.) The emergence of the fast-spreading omicron variant of COVID-19 and its uncertain effect on the economy added to the pressure.
“The pause on federal student loan payments, interest, and collections has improved borrowers’ economic security, allowing them to invest in their families, save for emergencies, and pay down other debt,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “Extending the pause will help millions of Americans make ends meet, especially as we overcome the Omicron variant.”
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