ACE, Higher Education Groups Urge Education Department to Communicate Plans for Resuming Student Loan Repayments
July 26, 2021

​​ACE and six other higher education associations have written to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona urging the Department of Education (ED) to develop and publicly share a clear plan to transition federal student loan borrowers back into repayment.

Pandemic measures providing a moratorium on student loan repayments expire on Sept. 30, and ED has yet to indicate whether it plans to extend them. The groups urged the department to develop a plan that provides borrowers with the option to either voluntarily resume making repayments or request additional time to transition back into repayment, and to communicate that plan as soon as possible.

The Trump administration first authorized a suspension of federal student loan payments and zero percent interest for borrowers as well as a suspension of collections on defaulted loans in March 2020. These suspensions were included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act with an expiration of Sept. 30, 2020, which was subsequently extended through Jan. 21, 2021.

The Biden administration extended the emergency relief measures through Sept. 30, 2021, on his first day in office. On March 30, the suspensions were expanded to federal student loans made through the Federal Family Education Loan Program that are in default.

The associations stressed in their letter that “the journey to economic recovery for borrowers may vary depending on where they live, the industry in which they work, and their individual family circumstances,” urging flexibility.  

“Much of the current debate surrounding when to resume monthly payments has focused on the binary options of either resuming repayment for all borrowers on the current schedule or extending the pause for all borrowers,” the groups wrote. “Because of the complexity and variation surrounding the recovery, the transition back into student loan repayment should instead be viewed as a road that will require a clear on-ramp, with more than one exit.”