ED Extends Student Loan Borrower Relief To Jan. 31; Associations Call on Congress to Address Issue Through End of 2021
December 07, 2020

Update (Dec. 7, 2020): Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced Friday that the pause on repaying student loans would be extended through Jan. 31, leaving the Biden administration to deal with further relief. Read more at Inside Higher Ed.


Dec. 4, 2020

ACE and nine other higher education groups sent a letter to Congress today calling for an extension of the current freeze on student loan payments, interest, and collections that expires on Dec. 31.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos first authorized the relief measures in March during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. They were subsequently included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act with an expiration date of Sept. 30, 2020. In August, the administration extended the measures through Dec. 31, 2020.

Unless Congress or the Trump administration takes action in the coming weeks, tens of millions of federal student loan borrowers must restart payments while the economy is still struggling and unemployment is high.

The associations are asking for an extension through at least Dec. 31, 2021.

“Since the implementation of this relief last March, the economic circumstances of borrowers have scarcely changed,” they wrote. “In fact, with the recent nationwide resurgence of COVID-19, the already-high unemployment rate is likely to increase. Bringing millions of Americans back into repayment in the thick of this crisis will cause additional financial hardship and force borrowers to make difficult decisions about their limited resources.”

A bipartisan group of Senate lawmakers this week announced a $908 billion legislative framework to try to break the months-long impasse on a new pandemic relief bill. The bill includes an extension of the borrower relief. Top Democratic leaders in the Senate and House have said they are open to using the bipartisan Senate bill as a starting point for negotiation, but the path forward remains unclear. If the relief bill is not completed before the Dec. 31 borrower relief expiration date, it is important that Congress address it separately.

ACE also sent a letter to DeVos last month requesting that she address this need.