The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that it would extend the pause on student loan payments through May 1 amid the recent surge in covid-19 cases. As of December, the United States currently has a record-breaking $1.73 trillion in student debt.
In August, the Department of Education issued its fourth payment suspension since the outset of the pandemic. The payment pause was previously set to expire on January 31st, leaving many with federal student loans anxious about how the impending payments would impact their finances.
Of this most recent pause, Biden said in a statement:
“Given these considerations, today my Administration is extending the pause on federal student loan repayments for an additional 90 days — through May 1, 2022 — as we manage the ongoing pandemic and further strengthen our economic recovery. Meanwhile, the Department of Education will continue working with borrowers to ensure they have the support they need to transition smoothly back into repayment and advance economic stability for their own households and for our nation.”
While this news comes as a relief to many who’ve been receiving daily dread-inducing payment reminders, the Biden administration still has the power to cancel student debt completely (or, at least cancel $50,000 of student debt per borrower, as per Sen. Elizabeth Warren).
Relieving student loan debt, ironically, was a key tenet in Biden’s 2020 presidential run. Research from the Roosevelt Institute has shown that any level of student loan debt cancellation, no matter how small, would benefit Americans with the least wealth, including Black, Latinx Americans, women, and those who were unable to graduate with degrees—the very same people who are feeling the brunt of the covid-19 pandemic (and the very same demographic communities that voted for Biden!). Apparently, that promise of debt forgiveness was good enough to get elected, but not good enough to go through with.
Come on, Biden. Just cancel them.