July 5, 2021

Will Biden Extend Student Loan Forbearance?

Forgiveness

President Biden’s representatives have only suggested the possibility of extending student loan forbearance. President Biden’s student loans payment freeze is currently set to end on September 30, 2021. This means you must begin repaying your student loans on October 1, 2021.

Biden is likely to make a final decision based on the economic data his administration gathers. Student loan borrowers have collectively saved $5 billion a month since the pause on student loan payments. By September 30, borrowers will save $25 billion based on the Education Department’s data.

Although there is no final decision on the matter, the Education Department’s initiatives regarding student loan repayment and student loan advocacy groups present compelling points that make an extension seem likely. Here’s a closer look at what the Education Department and borrower advocates are going through.

Education Department Initiatives

The Education Department announced it would review the existing federal student loan programs to assess repayment plans. The comprehensive task began in May and could take up to two years to complete. The department must review several major federal student loan programs including:

  • Disability discharges
  • Borrower defense to repayment
  • Income-based repayment plans
  • Public service loan forgiveness

Updating these programs’ regulations with the current rulemaking process could take between one and two years before finalizing anything. The slow process may suggest a need to extend the freeze on student loan payments. However, this is only a theory.

Meanwhile, Biden asked the Education Department to analyze his legal authority in canceling student debt without congressional authorization. The White House says they expect official results within weeks of analysis.

Student Loan Borrower Advocates

Several advocacy groups for the protection of student loan borrowers collectively sent the president a statement calling to continue the pause on student loan payments. In summary, they claimed that an abrupt resumption of student loan payments would be difficult for both student loan borrowers and providers.

Many borrowers remain struggling to make ends meet amid the ongoing global pandemic. They may not have the capacity to immediately repay student loans. Meanwhile, student loan providers would face an unprecedented event where millions of borrowers would simultaneously enter repayment status. This possibility would be chaotic.

Conclusion

Biden’s forbearance extension remains unclear. There is no final statement explicitly extending the student loan freeze, but there are no statements dismissing the possibility either. Biden is most likely to decide based on facts and data from student loan borrowers before announcing his decision.

The data closest to the September 30 deadline is most crucial to forming a proper economic decision. Depending on the administration’s findings, Biden may decide to lift the freeze on student loan forbearance. However, advocates advise against an immediate reopening of student loan payments, suggesting an effective transitional period to protect borrowers.

The Department of Education is also reviewing the current repayment plans, the process of which may take up to two years. Data from their comprehensive overhaul may support the need for another student loan forbearance extension.

The likelihood of another extension seems high based on official statements. Regardless, consider your repayment options as soon as possible in the off chance that the September 30 deadline remains in effect.

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