(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. government will waive interest on federal student loans as part of a broad response to the coronavirus emergency, President Donald Trump said Friday.
Several days of turmoil on financial markets have pushed the White House to expand its response to the virus, which threatens to bring the U.S. and world economies to a halt. Trump also announced plans Friday to expand access to medical treatment and buy oil for strategic reserves.
American students owe $1.6 trillion in student debt. The Treasury owns about three-quarters of those loans, and is the guarantor for most of the rest.
In 2018, the government collected roughly $20 billion in interest charges as part of some $80 billion it received in overall repayments, according to a Moody’s report last year.
--With assistance from Alex Tanzi.
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