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Advocate groups demand that student loan payments pause be extended as forgiveness plan grinds halt

Advocates for student loan borrowers have asked for an extension to the federal student loan payment freeze, which expires at the end of December.

After President Joe Biden’s plan for the forgiveness of student debts for millions of borrowers, a federal appeals court agreed on Monday to temporarily block it. Six Republican-led states, including South Carolina, Missouri, Arkansas, and Iowa, ruled in favor. They had sued to block the relief plan.

This plan would cancel federal loans up to $10,000 per borrower, and Pell Grants up to $20,000 per borrower. The plaintiffs claimed that the student loan relief plan of the Biden administration would cause financial harm to their states.

Monday’s action is the latest in a series of actions challenging the administration’s plan for student loan forgiveness. It follows last week’s Texas federal judge’s blockade of the loan relief.

These rulings will mean that “tens to millions of student loan borrowers across America now have their vital debt relief stopped,” Persis Yu (deputy executive director of, the Student Borrower Protection Center) stated in a statement.

“The Biden Administration can’t now resume payments on January 1. You said that the Biden Administration must use all its tools to ensure that borrowers get the debt relief they require.

Other student loan borrowers’ advocacy groups voice a similar call for action to the Biden administration.

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, stated in a statement that “Alongside an Appeal, in this case, the Administration should also consider additional mechanisms to promote fairness including a delay for the resumption of Loan Payments Next Year.”

Expert says that borrowers who don’t forgive could default on their loans

Borrowers may have to pay back loans that they were promised would be forgiven if the student loan payment suspension does not extend beyond Dec. 31. According to Leslie Tayne (founder and chief attorney of Tayne Law Group), unexpected loan payments could cause a spike in defaults.

Tayne stated, “If borrowers are expected to resume student loan payments without any large loan cancellation in sight,” Multiple surveys have shown that a large number of borrowers aren’t financially ready to make payments.

Restarting payments without a clear path to forgiveness “would quickly return us to the pre-pandemic status quo, which isn’t anything to get nostalgic about,” Chris Motola, a financial and loans analyst with MerchantMaverick.com, said.

Motola said, “Additional to the shaky economy, the problem could quickly multiply, especially if it enters a period with high unemployment.”

Experts say Biden has options regarding the student loan payment suspension

According to student loan experts, the administration may extend the payment pause until Biden leaves office.

Motola stated that the administration could use an indefinite extension of the deadline to leverage Republicans to reach a deal and calm a young, angry Democratic base.

This option is legal “for so long as a Presidential emergency declaration is still being in effect,” which will be renewed in February according to Mark Kantrowitz (a leading expert in student loans).

According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, (CRFB), the additional $120 billion cost of extending the payment pause for Biden’s remaining term would bring its total cost to almost $300 billion.

Maya MacGuineas (president of the CRFB) stated in a statement that “inflation at a 40-year high and unemployment near historical lows, there is no justification for extending student debt pause yet again.”

“The pause was created as an emergency measure during the pandemic. The pandemic recession, as the President repeatedly stated, is over. MacGuineas added.

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