President-elect Joe Biden will ask Congress to immediately cancel $10,000 in student debt for all borrowers and to extend the payment pause that’s scheduled to lapse this month, an aide told reporters Friday afternoon.
The $900 billion pandemic aid package passed in December didn’t include an extension of the payment pause for student loan borrowers that has been in effect since March and expires at the end of the month, concerning advocates who say the financial pain wrought by the pandemic has left many borrowers unable to make their payments.
In a recent Pew survey, 6 in 10 borrowers said it would be difficult for them to start paying their student loan bills again in the coming month. The vast majority – or around 90% – of federal student loan borrowers have taken advantage of the government’s option to pause their payments during the pandemic, data shows.
The president-elect’s commitment to forgiving $10,000 in student debt falls in line with his promises on the campaign, although he’s facing mounting pressure to cancel more of the debt and to bypass Congress to do so.
Administrative or legislative forgiveness?
The Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is calling on Biden to forgive $50,000 per borrower on the first day of his presidency. “All you need is the flick of a pen,” Schumer said in December. “You don’t need Congress.”
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