White House says Biden will make decision on student loans

(The hill) – The White House said Tuesday that President Biden is considering whether to extend the pause on federal student loan payments and whether to cancel student loans on a larger scale before a moratorium on payments linked to the pandemic which is expected to resume on August 1. 31.

“He will make a decision,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. “I’ll let him talk.”

She noted that Biden told reporters last week that “late August” was his timeline for making a decision. Biden in April extended the pandemic moratorium on federal student loan payments and interest accrual through August.

“The president understands firsthand how distressing this can be for many Americans … across the country,” Jean-Pierre said. “That’s why he took the steps he took to suspend reimbursement.”

She said she had nothing more to share about the loan cancellation.

Other White House officials were silent when asked for updates on whether Biden would forgive any amount of student loans through executive action.

Senior economic adviser Brian Deese said he had nothing new to share on student loans, adding on Tuesday that “the president spoke about the timing on this issue.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Education told The Hill on Tuesday that the administration was still assessing whether to extend the payment pause, but borrowers would be notified “directly” when the freeze ended.

“The Department of Education will continue to assess the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economy on student borrowers. We will communicate directly with borrowers on the end of the payment pause when a decision is made,” the spokesperson said.

The statement follows the Wall Street Journal Monday report that student loan service contractors have been instructed not to send billing statements.

Before Biden announced the latest extension in April, the Department of Education asked companies not to send notices to resume payments.

The pause on student loan repayments was first signed into law in March 2020 under President Trump and has been extended several times since.

The White House previously indicated it was nearing a decision on broad student loan debt forgiveness, focusing on forgiveness of $10,000 per borrower, but has yet to make a final decision.

The administration announced a plan in June to pay off all outstanding federal student loans borrowed by former Corinthian Colleges students, providing $5.8 billion in loan forgiveness to 560,000 borrowers. The Group Loan Release applied to all former students who attended a campus owned or operated by Corinthian Colleges Inc. from the company’s inception in 1995 until its closure in 2015.