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With federal student loan borrowers facing having to resume paying back their debt again, associations representing the nation’s colleges and universities and financial aid administrators are asking Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to extend the break from making repayments another year.
Borrowers were initially excused by Congress from making payments during the pandemic until the end of September. President Donald Trump through an executive order extended the break through Dec. 31.
But with the deadline coming up and no sign that the pandemic or the recession will end by then, a number of groups asked DeVos in a letter to extend the moratorium through Dec. 31, 2021.
“Since the implementation of this relief last March, the economic circumstances of borrowers have scarcely changed. In fact, with the recent nationwide resurgence of COVID-19, the already-high unemployment rate is likely to increase,” said the letter signed by Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education. “Bringing millions of Americans back into repayment in the thick of this crisis will cause additional financial hardship and force borrowers to make difficult decisions about their limited resources. Simply stated, borrowers who continue to be financially impacted by the pandemic need more time to get back on their feet in the form of extended relief from required repayments coupled with zero percent interest.”
Among the other groups signing the letter were the American Association of Community Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Association of American Universities, the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.