Biden Extends Student-Loan Payment Pause After Virus Surges

President Joe Biden extended the pause on federal student-loan repayments by another three months as the U.S. faces a fresh wave of Covid-19 cases from the omicron variant, removing a near-term threat to millions of Americans’ finances.

The move on Wednesday takes the moratorium on payments, interest and collections through May 1. Biden had initially extended the pause through September after he took office and then stretched the end to Jan. 31. The president had faced pressure from Democratic lawmakers to provide an extension.

“We know that millions of student-loan borrowers are still coping with the impacts of the pandemic and need some more time before resuming payments,” Biden said in a statement. He urged students to take steps to “prepare for payments to resume,” including looking at lower payments, exploring loan forgiveness and getting vaccinated and boosted.

The latest extension will help 41 million people save $5 billion per month and it provides additional time for borrowers to plan for the resumption of payments and reduce the risk of delinquency and defaults, the U.S. Education Department said in a statement Wednesday.

Borrowers across the U.S. hold a cumulative $1.75 trillion in student-loan debt, 58% of which is held by women.