President Joe Biden has extended the moratorium on student loan repayment, interest and collection until January 2022, the Department of Education announced Friday.
The White House has confirmed that this will be the final extension, having had a moratorium in place since the earliest days of the pandemic under former President Donald Trump.
“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 provided by the White House. “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.”
“It is the Department’s priority to support students and borrowers during this transition and ensure they have the resources they need to access affordable, high quality higher education,” Cardona finished.
The Biden administration ordered a similar extension on its eviction moratorium earlier in August in a move fraught with legal questions. Prior, Democrats on Capitol Hill urged Biden to extend the moratorium through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the White House insisted for more than a week that it lacked the authority to do so.
The Supreme Court had ruled in June that the CDC could not unilaterally extend the eviction moratorium beyond July 31 without explicit confirmation from Congress in the form of legislation. (RELATED: Biden Admin Consulted Prolific Conspiracy Theorist Laurence Tribe On CDC Eviction Moratorium)
The Biden administration eventually gave in and created a new eviction moratorium targeting only areas with heightened COVID-19 transmission, despite saying earlier that such a move was illegal.
Reporters pressed White House press secretary Jen Psaki on the discrepancy at a Wednesday briefing, pointing out that Biden had entertained doubts about the constitutionality of an eviction moratorium as recently as Tuesday afternoon.
“I think what’s important to note here is that the president would not have moved forward with a step where he didn’t feel comfortable and confident in the legal justification,” Psaki answered. “It is also a reality that there are legal steps that have been taken by the Supreme Court in the last few months.”