The Biden administration announced on Friday that the student loan repayment moratorium will continue until January 31, 2022, noting that this represents the final extension of the payment pause.
The moratorium dates back to 2020 and earlier this year Biden moved to prolong it through Sept. 30.
Federal student loan repayments will now be paused for several additional months, interest rates will stay at zero, and debt collection attempts will remain suspended, according to the Associated Press, which noted that these measures have been around since early during the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Biden said in a statement that the "administration is extending the pause on federal student loan repayments one final time until January 31, 2022. This will give the Department of Education and borrowers more time and more certainty as they prepare to restart student loan payments. It will also ensure a smoother transition that minimizes loan defaults and delinquencies that hurt families and undermine our economic recovery," he said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) were happy with the move but they also continued to push for the Biden administration to go further by cancelling $50,000 of student debt for borrowers.
"While this temporary relief is welcome, it doesn't go far enough. Our broken student loan system continues to exacerbate racial wealth gaps and hold back our entire economy. We continue to call on the administration to use its existing executive authority to cancel $50,000 of student debt," the lawmakers said in a joint statement.
Biden has questioned whether he possesses the authority for that type of mass debt cancellation, according to the Associated Press, which reported that the president has previously asked the Education and Justice departments to examine the matter.
The outlet also noted that Biden has previously said he backs canceling up to $10,000, but has contended that the action should be performed by the nation's legislature.
On the other side of the political aisle, Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina blasted the move to extend the moratorium.
"This extension does a grave disservice to borrowers across the country, and our children will pay the ultimate price for this irresponsible delay. Secretary [of Education Miguel] Cardona is using the permanent pandemic narrative to wield power rather than enact responsible solutions to help borrowers get back on track. I regret that Secretary Cardona did not show real leadership by working with Congress to transition responsibly the portfolio back into repayment by Oct 1 of this year. It is nothing less than a dereliction of duty," Foxx said in the statement.