Most Americans want student loan payment suspension extended to 2023, poll finds
Federal student loan repayments are set to resume on May 1, after more than two years of COVID-19 emergency forbearance. However, most Americans think the suspension of student loan payments should be extended until 2023, according to a new survey from Data for Progress.
Fifty-nine percent of those polled supported extending student loan forbearance through the end of 2022, including 81% of Democrats but only 36% of Republicans. Adults under 45 were more likely (70%) to believe the payment break should be extended than those 45 and over (53%).
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Despite the popularity of the extension of the federal student loan payment freeze, it is unclear whether the Biden administration will issue another extension. That means federal student loan borrowers should expect to resume their payments in a few months.
Keep reading to learn more about extending student loan forbearance, including how to prepare for when payments resume in May. One option is to refinance a private student loan at a lower interest rate. You can compare student loan refinance rates on Credible for free without affecting your credit score.
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Will the student loan repayment freeze be extended again?
Federal student loan payments and interest charges have been temporarily suspended since former President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act into law in March 2020. The Department of Education has repeatedly extended the forbearance under the direction of President Joe Biden, and repayment of student loans is expected to resume in May.
The student loan payment freeze provided $5 billion a month in debt relief to 41 million borrowers, according to the Department of Education. But the Biden administration has signaled this will be the final extension of student loan forbearance. The president said in a statement that the latest extension was necessary “as we manage the ongoing pandemic and further strengthen our economic recovery.”
“The Ministry of Education will continue to work with borrowers to ensure they have the support they need to make a smooth transition to repayment and advance economic stability for their own households and for our nation. .”
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While the poll showed the current abstention period has strong support from Democrats, it proved less popular among Republican voters. The vast majority (85%) of Democrats agreed with Biden’s decision to suspend federal student loan payments through May, but only 43% of Republicans agreed.
Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, applauded the Biden administration’s decision to extend the pause for student borrowers. Many progressives also took the opportunity to call on the president to keep his campaign promise of widespread student loan forgiveness.
However, not all lawmakers favored the latest forbearance extension.
Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx, who heads the Education and Labor Committee, said in a statement that the Biden administration is “neglecting its fiduciary responsibility to the American people,” saying the latest forbearance extension will cost taxpayers $150 billion.
“President Biden’s latest extension is a troubling trend of blanket student loan forgiveness, which would be a massive mistake, with major consequences for borrowers and taxpayers,” Foxx said.
It remains unclear whether the president will again extend student loan forbearance or enact widespread student debt forgiveness. If you’re looking for ways to manage your student loan debt before payments resume in a few months, you might consider refinancing on better terms. Refinancing your student debt at a lower interest rate can help you lower your monthly payments, pay off your loans faster, and save money over time.
You can learn more about student loan refinancing by contacting a knowledgeable loan expert at Credible.
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How to Prepare for the End of Student Loan Forbearance
If you are unprepared for the return of federal student loan repayments in May, you may want to consider the following debt repayment strategies:
- Enroll in an Income Driven Repayment (IDR) plan. Federal student loan borrowers can enroll in an IDR plan to limit their monthly student loan payments to 10-20% of their disposable income.
- Request additional federal forbearance. Federal Student Aid (FSA) provides up to 36 months of economic hardship or unemployment deferment.
- Refinance your student loans. Refinancing student debt onto a longer loan term can save you more than $250 per month on your student loan payments, according to credible analysis.
It is important to note that refinancing your federal student debt into a private student loan will make you ineligible for IDR plans, the current administrative forbearance period, and some federal government student loan forgiveness programs.
You can browse the current student loan refinance rates from several lenders in the table below and use Credible’s student loan refinance calculator to determine if this method of debt repayment is right for your financial situation.
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