student loans
student loans

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

For over two years, the Department has provided critical flexibility to millions of federal student loan borrowers by pausing payments, as many have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. This much needed pause has helped many borrowers to keep a roof over their heads, secure childcare, and purchase food, health care, and medicine during the course of a pandemic responsible for the deaths of more than 1 million people in the U.S.,” wrote more than 100 lawmakers to President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “For the first time, many borrowers have had the opportunity to pay down debt, open a savings account, purchase a home, and save for retirement—none of which would have been possible without the payment pause.”

The lawmakers emphasized how resuming student loan payments 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—while costs continue to rise and while yet another COVID-19 variant increases hospitalizations nationwide.

“Despite significant decreases over the last month, gas prices are still high, and many borrowers still have to pay exorbitant amounts each week in order to commute to their jobs. Food prices remain high, as suppliers contend with ongoing supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine. We still have a significant childcare crisis throughout the country, which has caused already-high costs to spike to 40% of their pre-pandemic levels,” the lawmakers added. “Low-income borrowers, Black and Brown borrowers, and women borrowers still face severe financial hardships as COVID-19 continues to infect individuals throughout the country and exacerbate existing inequities.”

The lawmakers concluded by pointing out how resuming student loan payments at this moment would further complicate administrative actions already underway at the U.S. Department of Education. All federal student loan borrowers are in limbo as they await upcoming actions from the Department of Education or their federal student loan servicer.

Joining Senators Van Hollen, Menendez, Booker, Warren, and Schumer in the Senate in signing the letter are: 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 (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). 

Find a copy of the letter HERE and below.

Dear President Biden and Secretary Cardona,

In roughly 35 days, on September 1, 2022, tens of millions of federal student loan borrowers are scheduled to resume payments. Despite repeated reports and surveys concerning whether borrowers will be able to pay, we understand the Administration is considering restarting student loan payments at the end of August. We write today to urge you to extend the pause on student loan payments, given the numerous economic issues facing borrowers across the nation, as well as administrative actions in process by the Department of Education.

For over two years, the Department has provided critical flexibility to millions of federal student loan borrowers by pausing payments, as many have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. This much needed pause has helped many borrowers to keep a roof over their heads, secure childcare, and purchase food, health care, and medicine during the course of a pandemic responsible for the deaths of more than 1 million people in the U.S. For the first time, many borrowers have had the opportunity to pay down debt, open a savings account, purchase a home, and save for retirement—none of which would have been possible without the payment pause.

Resuming student loan payments 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 childcare and health care—while costs continue to rise and while yet another COVID-19 variant increases hospitalizations nationwide. Despite significant decreases over the last month, gas prices are still high, and many borrowers still have to pay exorbitant amounts each week in order to commute to their jobs. Food prices remain high, as suppliers contend with ongoing supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine. We still have a significant childcare crisis throughout the country, which has caused already-high costs to spike to 40% of their pre-pandemic levels. Low-income borrowers, Black and Brown borrowers, and women borrowers still face severe financial hardships as COVID-19 continues to infect individuals throughout the country and exacerbate existing inequities.

Moreover, resuming student loan payments at this moment would further complicate administrative actions already underway or contemplated by the Department—which could contribute to unnecessary confusion for borrowers in the upcoming months. Currently, many borrowers are in limbo as they await upcoming actions from the Department or their federal student loan servicer—either through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) waiver 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 ask that the Administration continue to keep federal student loan payments paused.

Sincerely,

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7 Comments

  1. This is such garbage. The pandemic, for all intents and purposes is over. There are 11 MILLION open jobs in the US. Employers are COMPETING for employees. Go get a job, get two if you must. Countless Americans have done this over the history of this country. There is no reason why today’s coddled youth can’t do the same. There is no reason why the majority of those with student loan debt cannot get a job and get on with the business of repaying their debts. (note: I did not say ALL with debt)

  2. POS democrats! THEY’VE caused all of these problems today so I’m not going to pay for anyone’s schooling! They can get a damn job like I and millions of others did! I worked and went to school and paid my student loans off myself!
    There are a ton of businesses crying out for help and, because of useless democrat babying their voters, there are only “skeleton crews” working at most places!
    The Wuhan is gone except for a foolish few so STOP making excuses for your incompetent voters! If it wasn’t an election year this wouldn’t be an issue!

    1. How delusional does one have to be to think all the problems in this country are the result of one party? Reading the posts of Trumpers one would think Democrats and ONLY Democrats have been in power since 1783.

  3. Anything to get votes. We the people did not tell them we would cover they debts. They went to school, received the money, spent it however they wished, and now want to renege on the loan. there iss no way we can afford to pay their bills. They even want mom and dad to house them free of charge. Not the real world. Suck it up and pay your bills

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