Delayed Federal Student Loan Payments

Federal student loan payments have been delayed through Biden’s new plan.


Konstantin Evdokimov / Unsplash

COVID-19 has greatly affected America’s economy.

America’s economy is, once again, a mess. The new Omicron variant caused a surge in COVID-19 cases during December 2021 and January 2022, and it is making it harder for Americans to pay off their student loans.

During the beginning months of the COVID-19 pandemic, starting in March 2020, much of the country went into a lockdown, causing numerous businesses to shutter and millions of jobs to be lost. Young college students could lose their part-time jobs or graduate and face difficulty in finding a new job. In an interview less than a year ago Vice President Kamala Harris said that “during the course of the pandemic, one-third of our small businesses have closed.” New York is still in the process of being restored to pre-pandemic times in terms of revenue and job growth, and it can still be hard for young students to pay off their loans. 

Students have benefited greatly from the new student loan forgiveness plan, as it allows them to focus on their studies instead of on financial issues (Tamar Padwa)

In response, President Biden has recently announced his new student loan forgiveness plan to push back the deadline to pay off federal student loans. Since March 2020, students have been given the right to delay payments, without any interest, until January 31st, 2022. Biden’s new plan extends this by an extra 90 days, giving students until May 1st, 2022, to pay off their loans. 

As President Biden announced in his speech, federal loans are being delayed to “manage the ongoing pandemic and further strengthen our economic recovery.” This has helped many students, as most Americans are not ready to pay off their loans. A recent survey taken by the  Student Debt Crisis Center (SDCC) with over 33 thousand responses in all 50 states showed that 89% of student loan borrowers are not financially secure enough to resume payment. 

Biden’s plan to hold off on student loans has undeniably helped many students and improved their financial situation. “Over 35% of borrowers believe they either won’t be able to make payments (14.1%) or are unlikely to be able to make payments (21.7%) once the COVID-19 relief program for student loans ends on December 31st, 2020.” Biden’s plan has helped many students who would be otherwise unable to pay off their debts. While this may be true, Biden has not yet fulfilled one of his campaign promises. When President Biden campaigned against former President Trump, he promised to forgive $10,000 in student debt. 

Despite it being a year since his inauguration, Biden has not yet achieved this political goal, causing many students to wonder if and when Biden will be able to fulfill his promise. 

Since his inauguration, President Biden has canceled over $12 billion in student debt. However, many believe that more should be done. More people are pushing for the cancellation of $50,000 per person or even total forgiveness of student loans. Many students like Elizabeth Colon 23’ think that “all student loans should be forgiven.” Forgiving student debts can do a lot more for students struggling to pay bills during a pandemic.

Currently, the student loan debt is around $1.7 trillion. If Biden cancels around $50,000 per borrower, then it will be reduced a whopping trillion dollars to $0.7 trillion. To further clarify, the average student debt is around $30,000 per person. If $50,000 were to be canceled, then it would essentially wipe away the debts of many Americans. 

While this may sound nice, it is important to note that this plan also has many drawbacks, one of which is an increase in taxes. A lot of money will be needed in order to clear a student debt of around 1.7 trillion dollars, causing taxpayers to pay a hefty price. This would cause many Americans who do not have student debt to pay for the education of students to whom they have no relation. Eliminating student debt comes with both benefits and drawbacks, but it is undeniable that it will help many students, who may otherwise be unable to afford higher education.

Despite it being a year since his inauguration, Biden has not yet achieved this political goal, causing many students to wonder if and when Biden will be able to fulfill his promise.