Biden tells loan officers to suspend student debt


Action asking the president to cancel student debt earlier this spring. Credit: Leigh Vogel/Getty

OWith the federal student loan pause expiring, President Joe Biden could at the very least consider another extension. The Biden-Harris administration has yet to decide what to do about federal student loans, but NBC News reported that the the president told the loan officers not to contact borrowers before the expiry of the break.

Expiring at the end of August, the current student loan repayment pause was last extended by the president in April and extended the pause in April. Time is running out for borrowers across the country. Restarting student loan repayments amid recent price hikes would not only be politically short-sighted, but it could also push more people into financial ruin.

When Biden extended the payment break in April, some supporters applauded the move, but also urged the president to take meaningful steps to forgive at least some student loan debt. Any action taken by the president applies only to federal student loan debt; private loans are not affected.

But groups like the Debt Collective have called on Biden to “take up the pen” and wipe out all student loan debt. Last summer, the Black-led 1000 Strong Women launched a series of student loan debt stories featuring black women.

“Cancelling student debt will benefit black women, but it will also alleviate an unrelenting pressure and barrier for millions of other families across the country,” wrote 1000 Women Strong Executive Director Shakya Cherry-Donaldson. “Families who want a better quality of life will have the opportunity to build wealth for themselves, their children and the next generation, as well as a path to financial freedom.

Proponents of more moderate reforms, including Biden, suggest canceling $10,000 in student debt and fixing existing problems with income-driven repayment programs. Other considerations include the ability of those with government service experience to receive loan forgiveness, loan servicing issues, and the setting of negative amortization.

But these issues alone do not solve the crisis affecting millions of Americans.

Members of Congress also encouraged the president to take decisive action on student loans, noting it’s something Biden can do that wouldn’t be subject to a Senate deadlock. Representative Ayanna Pressley is among many House members who have joined their Senate colleagues, including Sens. Warnock and Warren, to call on the president to take decisive action on student loan debt.

In March, Warnock was among a group of Democratic senators who spoke about the need for people to directly lobby the president and the White House on this issue. The president has spoken before about wanting to rebuild America’s middle class, and by many accounts, easing the burden of student debt would do just that.

The Education Trust recently posted a brief on the burden of student debt on mental health, especially among black borrowers. The organization supports the call to forgive $50,000 of federal student debt per borrower with no eligibility limits. He also promoted different strategies to make college more affordable and improve income-driven repayment plans, re

“Black students are more likely to borrow, borrow more, and are more likely to struggle to repay than their peers because they collectively have fewer resources due to the generational and ongoing effects of structural racism,” reads- on in a statement from Education Trust. “This debt burden has far-reaching financial consequences, and research also shows that student debt contributes to poor mental health.”


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