Biden extends pause on student loan repayment

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Dec 22 (Reuters) - President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that his administration was extending the pause on student loan repayment for an additional 90 days, citing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Today my Administration is extending the pause on federal student loan repayments for an additional 90 days - through May 1, 2022 — as we manage the ongoing pandemic and further strengthen our economic recovery", Biden said in a statement released by the White House.

In August, the Biden administration extended the pause through Jan. 31, 2022. read more

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"We know that millions of student loan borrowers are still coping with the impacts of the pandemic and need some more time before resuming payments," Biden said on Wednesday.

First lady Jill Biden watches as U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks to the National Education Association's Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly in Washington, U.S., July 2, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

The extension of the pause comes as cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus surge across the United States.

Nearly 41 million borrowers benefited from a freeze on interest accruals and about 27 million borrowers have not had to pay their monthly bills since the forbearance began.

The Student Borrower Protection Center, a nonprofit group, described the step by the Biden administration as "a lifeline to student loan borrowers in the face of economic and public health reality."

Democratic lawmakers including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Elizabeth Warren welcomed Biden's announcement and continued to call on the administration to cancel up to $50,000 in student debt.

"We continue to call on President Biden to take executive action to cancel $50,000 in student debt, which will help close the racial wealth gap for borrowers and accelerate our economic recovery," the Democratic lawmakers said in a statement.

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Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Aurora Ellis and Peter Cooney

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