US Education Secretary Extends Student Loan Forbearance Until January 31

United States (US)

United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has decided to extend the federal student loan federal forbearance administrative period until the end of January next year, the US Department of Education has announced through a press release on Friday,  December 4, 2020.

This relief was expected to expire on December 31, 2020.

According to the release, federal student loan borrowers are not obliged to make any payments by January next year, yet they are allowed to continue paying and benefit from the 0 per cent interest rate while paying down the principal, Erudera reports.

“In March 2020, Secretary DeVos instructed employers to halt wage garnishments for borrowers with defaulted federal student loans. That instruction remains in place, and any defaulted borrowers who continue to have their wages garnished will receive refunds.” the press release reads.

Secretary DeVos said that COVID-19 had triggered challenges for many students and borrowers and the impermanent break in payments would assist those who have been affected by the pandemic. 

“The added time also allows Congress to do its job and determine what measures it believes are necessary and appropriate. The Congress, not the Executive Branch, is in charge of student loan policy,” she said.

Following Trump’s March 13, 2020 declaration of national emergency which emerged as a result of Coronavirus pandemic, Secretary DeVos has used her authority under the 2003 HEROES Act, making all federal student loan interest remain zero and include borrowers into administrative forbearance immediately, so they can be permitted to postpone payments without being sanctioned.

In addition, Secretary DeVos has fulfilled President Trump’s Memorandum on emergency federal student loan relief On August 21, by extending the CARES Act borrower benefits until December 31, 2020.

According to the US Department of Education data, the federal student loan debt in the United States has exceeded the amount of $1.54 trillion.

During the Democratic presidential primary 2020, the US President Joe Biden announced his plans for the cancellation of student loan debt or at least a partial cancellation for every student borrower as COVID-19 assistance. After winning elections, Biden called on the Congress to cancel the $10,000 of student loan debt immediately.

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