President Joe Biden will not be extending student loan relief and loan payments will restart on Feb. 1, Forbes reports. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the news during a press conference on Tuesday (Dec. 14), adding that the student loan payment pause that was put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic will now end on Jan. 31, 2022.
The news comes as a blow to many student loan borrowers and advocacy groups who lobbied the Biden Administration to extend the payment pause. According to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 89 percent of student loan borrowers currently feel financially unprepared to start making student loan payments again, Forbes writes. The lawmakers also argued that around nine million student loan borrowers will suffer further economic strife due to the payment restart along with the continued challenges brought on by the COVID-19 health emergency.
Psaki addressed the state of the pandemic in Tuesday’s press briefing, saying, “We are still assessing the impact of the Omicron variant.” She also said that student loan borrowers can expect “more details” about the administration’s plan for restarting payments in the coming weeks.
“We will engage directly with federal student loan borrowers to ensure they have the resources they need and are in the appropriate repayment plan,” she said, adding that a “smooth transition back into repayment is a high priority for the administration.”
According to Psaki, 41 million borrowers have benefitted from the student loan payment pause.
Other borrowers were also hopeful that Biden would cancel student loan debt, which Forbes writes also will not be happening. Since becoming president, Biden has reportedly negated $12.5 billion worth of student loan debt for around 640,000 borrowers. However, on Tuesday, Psaki made no mention of the administration’s future plans for wide-scale student loan forgiveness.