Van Hollen and colleagues urge Biden administration to extend student loan payment suspension

July 29, 2022

“Resuming student loan repayments would force millions of borrowers to choose between paying their loans or putting a roof over their heads, food on the table or paying for childcare and health care. ”

Ahead of the federal student loan payment break set to expire at the end of next month, U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined Senators Bob Menendez (DN.J.), Cory Booker (DN.J .), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.), alongside Reps. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.-14), Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.-29) and Ayanna Pressley ( D-Mass.-07), urging the Biden administration to extend the student loan payment pause beyond Aug. 31, 2022. Sen. Van Hollen has repeatedly urged the administration to address student loan payments for those who need help the most.

For more than two years, the Department has provided essential flexibility to millions of federal student loan borrowers by suspending payments as many struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. This much-needed break has helped many borrowers keep a roof over their heads, provide childcare and buy food, healthcare and medicine during a deadly pandemic. of more than one million people in the United States, wrote over 100 lawmakers to President Joe Biden and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. “For the first time, many borrowers have had the opportunity to pay down their debts, open a savings account, buy a home and save for their retirement, which would not have been possible without the payment pause.”

Lawmakers have pointed out how resuming student loan repayments will force millions of borrowers to choose between paying their loans or putting a roof over their heads, food on the table or paying for childcare. children and health care – as costs continue to rise and as yet another COVID-19 variant increases hospitalizations nationwide.

“Despite significant declines over the past month, gasoline prices are still high and many borrowers still have to pay exorbitant sums every week to get to work. Food prices remain high as suppliers grapple with ongoing supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine. We still have a major child care crisis across the country, which has driven already high costs to 40% of their pre-pandemic levels,” lawmakers added. “Low-income borrowers, black and brown borrowers, and women borrowers continue to face severe financial hardship as COVID-19 continues to infect individuals across the country and exacerbate existing inequalities.”

The lawmakers concluded by pointing out how resuming student loan repayments at this time would further complicate administrative actions already underway at the US Department of Education. All federal student loan borrowers are in limbo as they await further action from the Department of Education or their federal student loan officer.

Join Senators Van Hollen, Menendez, Booker, Warren and Schumer in the Senate to sign the letter: Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif .), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jack Reed (DR.I.), Bernie Sanders ( I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Sheldon Whitehouse (DR.I.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Find a copy of the letter HERE and lower.

Dear President Biden and Secretary Cardona,

In about 35 days, on September 1, 2022, tens of millions of federal borrowers are expected to resume payments. Despite repeated reports and inquiries regarding borrowers’ ability to pay, we understand that the administration plans to resume student loan repayments at the end of August. We are writing to you today to urge you to extend the pause on student loan repayments, given the many economic challenges facing borrowers across the country, as well as ongoing administrative actions by the Department of Education. .

For more than two years, the Department has provided essential flexibility to millions of federal student loan borrowers by suspending payments as many struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. This much-needed break has helped many borrowers keep a roof over their heads, provide childcare, and buy food, healthcare, and medicine during a pandemic that is causing the death of more than a million people in the United States. Over time, many borrowers have had the opportunity to pay off their debts, open a savings account, buy a home, and save for retirement, which would not have been possible without the payment break.

Resuming student loan repayments would force millions of borrowers to choose between paying their federal student loans or putting a roof over their heads, food on the table or paying for child care and health care. healthcare – as costs continue to rise and yet another COVID-19 variant increases hospitalizations nationwide. Despite significant declines over the past month, gas prices are still high and many borrowers still have to pay exorbitant sums every week to get to work. Food prices remain high as suppliers grapple with ongoing supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine. We still have a major child care crisis across the country, which has driven already high costs to 40% of pre-pandemic levels. Low-income borrowers, black and brown borrowers, and women borrowers continue to face severe financial hardship as COVID-19 continues to infect individuals across the country and exacerbate existing inequalities.

In addition, the resumption of student loan repayments at this time would further complicate administrative measures already underway or contemplated by the Ministry, which could contribute to unnecessary confusion for borrowers in the coming months. Currently, many borrowers are in limbo as they await upcoming actions from the Department or their Federal Student Loan Officer, either through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), or through the one-time account adjustments announced by Ed on April 19, 2022 that would count past periods of forbearance or deferment.

Accordingly, we are asking the administration to continue to suspend federal student loan payments.

Sincerely,


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Elaine R. Knight