Now that the Omicron variant has allowed the pandemic to reintroduce itself (its name is COV), the Biden administration is giving student loan borrowers a bit of relief by allowing them to put off making payments for a few months past the deadline that had previously been set.
According to BuzzFeed News, President Joe Biden and his administration announced Wednesday that federal student loan borrowers wouldn’t be required to resume making payments until May 1, 2022, instead of the previous deadline of Jan. 31, 2022. The administration also said that interest rates on the loans would remain at zero percent.
“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.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona echoed the president’s sentiments saying in a statement, “This additional extension of the repayment pause will provide critical relief to borrowers who continue to face financial hardships as a result of the pandemic, and will allow our Administration to assess the impacts of Omicron on student borrowers.”
“As we prepare for the return to repayment in May, we will continue to provide tools and supports to borrowers so they can enter into the repayment plan that is responsive to their financial situation, such as an income-driven repayment plan,” Cardona continued.
OK, so this is a good look and all but let’s not forget that one subject that continues to haunt Biden and the future of his presidency isn’t about temporarily giving borrowers a little extra time to open their wallets up—it’s about loan forgiveness in general.
BuzzFeed noted that a Democratic “coalition of lawmakers” have kept their collective foot on Biden’s neck about canceling $50,000 in student debt for all students, especially the ones the administration is boasting about helping out with a payment extension. And while those lawmakers are commending the administration for said extension, they’re not letting Biden forget what they really want.
“Extending the pause will help millions of Americans make ends meet, especially as we overcome the Omicron variant. We continue to call on President Biden to take executive action to cancel $50,000 in student debt, which will help close the racial wealth gap for borrowers and accelerate our economic recovery,” reads a joint statement signed by Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
So basically, the deadline extension is a decent start, but it’s a drop in the bucket of what students across the nation actually need.