WASHINGTON — A decision on whether to extend a federal student loan pause before the moratorium expires at the end of the month will come “in the next week or so," said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in interviews that aired Sunday.
“We know Aug. 31 is a date that many people are waiting to hear something from,” Cardona said in a pretaped interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We've been talking daily about this, and I can tell you that the American people will hear within the next week or so what the president and the Department of Education will be doing around that.”
Cardona, appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” also in a pretaped interview, reiterated that an announcement will be made “before the end of the month.”
The Biden Administration has been tight-lipped in recent weeks about the future of the student loan pause. Former President Donald Trump implemented a moratorium in March 2020 during the early days of the pandemic. It has since been extended six times between Trump and President Joe Biden.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, when asked Aug. 10 at a news briefing about Biden’s plans for the pause said: “The President understands how student loans could affect a family and how the pressure of that can really be a lot and put a lot of weight on a family's purse or economic situation. So, we understand that … he is going to make his decision on this, and when he has something to say, we will share that.”
Cardona, while noting that the administration was continuing to have daily discussions on the issue, did not detail whether any forthcoming announcement will simply extend the pause on payments or offer longer-term relief.
Earlier this year, Biden expressed support for a plan he endorsed as a presidential candidate to provide up to $10,000 in student debt relief to federal borrowers who meet certain income thresholds.
On April 30, The Washington Post reported that White House officials were weighing a plan that would offer $10,000 in relief to borrowers earning under either $125,000 or $150,000, and were also considering extending the relief only to undergraduate debt and not postgraduate debt such as law school or medical school loans.
White House press secretary at the time Jen Psaki, when asked about the Post report, confirmed May 2 that Biden was looking at establishing an income criteria so the debt relief is “targeted to those graduates who have the greatest need.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate Majority Leader, and other congressional Democrats have been pressing the Biden administration to consider up to $50,000 in relief, but Biden has repeatedly balked at the figure.
Cardona told “Face the Nation” the Biden administration has taken other steps to provide $32 billion in student loan forgiveness since taking office — including providing loan cancellations to borrowers with “total and permanent disability,” those enrolled in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program who work in the public service sector, and “those who have been taken advantage of by” certain private for-profit colleges and universities