What might the extended pause on federal student loan repayment mean for borrowers?
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President Joe Biden announced he is extending the pause on most federal student loan payments for another three months.
The federal government first paused payments and interest on student loans back in March of 2020. Both were set to resume at the end of next month, but now borrowers have until May 1.
More than 40 million people have federal student loans that are currently on pause.
With this latest wave of COVID infections, restarting payments in February would have been hard, said Alpha Taylor, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center.
“Especially for low-income borrowers, and also borrowers of color,” he said. “Many of these borrowers are still struggling to afford food, rent and paying for childcare costs.”
A recent survey from Bankrate and the website BestColleges found that more than one-third of borrowers would have trouble paying for groceries, bills and other necessities if payments resumed.
“The economic recovery has been fast and hot, but deeply unequal,” said Mike Pierce, executive director of the nonprofit Student Borrower Protection Center.
“For younger people that are just starting out, for people of color in particular, the economic recovery hasn’t delivered in the same way as it has for everybody else,” he said.
And with prices now rising on all sorts of goods and services, he said a lot of people still can’t afford to start paying student loans again.
On average? Those payments are almost $400 a month.
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