Biden extended the student-loan payment pause through June 30, 2023 at the latest.
The extension was in response to two federal courts that have blocked the debt relief.
Payments could resume earlier if lawsuits are resolved before June 30.
It has now been six times that President Joe Biden has extended the pandemic-era pause on student-loan payments. The move comes as his bigger plan to cancel student debt is in jeopardy.
After Biden announced in August up to $20,000 in student-debt relief for federal borrowers, a number of conservative lawsuits jumped up seeking to block the implementation of the loan forgiveness. And so far, two of the lawsuits have temporarily succeeded — a federal judge in Texas ruled the relief illegal on November 10, and four days later, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals decided the temporary pause it placed on the relief in October should remain in place until a final decision on the legality of the program is made.
Given the legal proceedings could take months and it's unclear when, or if, borrowers will see reductions to their balances, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Tuesday announced he would be extending the student-loan payment pause yet again, through June 30, 2023 at the latest.
".@POTUS & I believe it's harmful & wrong to ask tens of millions of borrowers to resume payments on their student debt when they would be eligible for relief – if not for these meritless lawsuits," Cardona wrote on Twitter. "So today, @USEDGov is announcing an extension of the pause on student loan repayment, interest, and collections."
But there's a chance borrowers could be footing another monthly bill sooner than June 30. According to the Education Department, payments will resume 60 days after whichever one of the following scenarios happens first:
The lawsuits that have blocked the debt relief are resolved
Debt relief is implemented
The date is June 30, 2023
As Politico reported, once the suits are resolved, relief is implemented, or the June 30 deadline is hit, student-loan borrowers will then have 60 days until interest on their loans starts accruing again and they will have to resume payments, and that 60-day period "is the minimum time period before which a payment would be due," an Education Department spokesperson said. "There could be a range of due dates following the end of the 60-day period."
Even if the lawsuits are not resolved by June 30 and relief has not been permitted, borrowers will still have to resume student-loan payments 60 days after that date.
While borrowers now do not have to worry about resuming payments after December 31, when the previous pause was set to expire, the fate of their relief remains in legal limbo. Biden's administration asked the Supreme Court last week to revive its student-loan forgiveness plan, and while the Court has previously dismissed two other lawsuits that have sought to block the relief, it's unclear if it will decide to overrule the lower courts decisions.
Read the original article on Business Insider