In one of his first moves in office, President Biden has issued an executive order to extend pandemic relief for roughly 41 million federal student loan borrowers through Sept. 30.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law in March, allowed for borrowers loans to be paused with zero percent interest as the coronavirus pandemic forced millions out of work and upended the nation’s economy.
Before Biden’s executive order the relief was set to expire on Jan. 31.
“At the request of President Biden, the Acting Secretary of Education will extend the pause on federal student loan payments and collections and keep the interest rate at 0%,” the White House said in a statement. “Too many Americans are struggling to pay for basic necessities and to provide for their families. They should not be forced to choose between paying their student loans and putting food on the table.”
Currently, borrowers owe over $1.5 trillion in federal student loans, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
The White House says borrowers of all ages are often faced with a tough tradeoff between making their student loan payments, investing in their long-term financial future, or paying their bills.
“The pandemic has only increased the economic hardship of the millions of Americans who have student debt.”
The Biden administration also requested the extension of the federal eviction and foreclosure moratorium initially put in place by the CARES Act.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an almost unprecedented housing affordability crisis,” the White House said in a statement. “Today, 1 in 5 renters and 1 in 10 homeowners with a mortgage are behind on payments.”
Acting Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Matthew E. Ammon announced last Thursday that the department has implemented Biden’s requests to immediately extend eviction and foreclosure moratoriums on federally backed single family mortgages through March 31.
This also includes the Public and Indian Housing [PIH] eviction and foreclosure moratorium.
“In order to provide much-needed economic relief and support to working families, HUD has implemented the president’s requests,” Ammon said.
He continued that throughout the pandemic, this looming wave of evictions and foreclosures have disproportionately impacted communities of color.
He says these executive actions are a critical first step to ensure that families hit hard by the economic crisis will not be forced from their homes during their time of need.
“Failing to prevent widespread evictions and foreclosures would lead to untold hardship for families and to overwhelmed emergency shelter capacity, increasing the likelihood of COVID-19 spread in our communities,” Ammon said. “The Biden administration is committed to using the tools at its disposal and to working with congress to help struggling households keep a roof over their heads. These agency actions support the administration’s broader strategy by immediately extending nationwide restrictions on evictions and foreclosures.”