WASHINGTON — At the beginning of April, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein Giving hope to student debt cancellation When he announced that President Joe Biden had asked the Department of Education to provide a memo to examine his legal powers to clear debt through executive action.
“Hopefully we’ll see that in the next few weeks,” the Clan said at the time. “Then he will look at that legal power. He’ll look at the policy issues around that. then he will decide He didn’t make a decision in any way. In fact, he didn’t get the memos he needed to start focusing on that decision.”;
The White House has linked Biden’s policy approach to student debt relief to Department of Education records. But almost two months since Klain’s comments, it’s unclear when the department’s hearings will be finalized. Student debt cancellation advocates say they are left in the dark on the memo timeline and are growing concern that the administration is reluctant to take it seriously.
“We all believe that when people say ‘A couple of weeks’ certainly isn’t even two months. It’s taking too long,” said Braxton Brewington, a spokesman for Debt Collective, a debtor’s union that supports the spread. student loan cancellation
“We believe it’s a standstill strategy,” Brewington added.
When asked to update the memo timeline A White House official said “The president believes that student loans help finance a path to opportunity. It doesn’t become a lifelong burden. Therefore, White House officials continue to work with agency officials to Explore debt relief actions that can be implemented in management.”
The Ministry of Education has not been able to provide the status of the review.
“We are working closely with the Department of Justice and the White House as soon as possible to review all options regarding student debt cancellation,” an education ministry spokesman said. This memo is provided by the Ministry of Justice. with the Ministry of Education as the leader
“We were not informed that this did not happen. But we are trying to investigate,” said Natalia Abrams, Executive Director of Student Debt Crisis.
“We want to have a timeline,” she added. “There is definitely some frustration among student loan borrowers.”
It is unclear whether it will be publicly notified when the review is complete or if the record will be made public.
Supporters say the lack of transparency from the Biden administration stems from the upcoming Sept. 30 deadline when student loan waivers are set to expire. Debt cancellation proponents are urging the White House to act before then. and at least Communicate clearly with borrowers about the management’s intended policies. So that no one will be unaware if the payment will eventually be due again this fall.
“Many borrowers, especially new students, borrow money, who have never paid their debts, almost expecting [the payment pause] extended,” Abrams said. “They need to notify borrowers as soon as possible.”
Neither the White House nor the Department of Education said whether the administration was seriously considering extending the restraint. Earlier this month, Education Minister Miguel Cardona said the extension of the pause was “It’s not a problem, but at this point it’s September 30.”
Persis Yu, director of the Student Loan Borrower Assistance Program at the National Consumer Law Center, said the Education Department’s memorandum was “overdue” and called for a “definitely overdue amount.” “More transparency and communication in the process.”
“Our hope is that policy makers will coordinate and communicate with lending advocacy groups. And I think that’s a big disappointment. And a lot of people don’t feel like they’re being listened to in the process,” Yu said.
In March 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act, which suspends federal student loan payments through September 2020 and kept interest rates at 0 percent for about 42 million federal borrowers in an effort to mitigate the financial impact. economy from the coronavirus pandemic
President Donald Trump then proceeded to extend student loan payments until January 2021, and Biden, on his first day in office, signed an executive order that extended. Temporarily paused payment until September 30, 2021.
As the day of September 30 draws near Supporters say they are planning to increase pressure on the White House to get involved more meaningfully with calls from Democrats, led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer from New York. and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts Biden canceled $50,000 of federal student debt through executive action.
Democrats and other student debt cancellation advocates Argued that the president has the power to cancel student loans under the Higher Education Act of 1965, which gives the Secretary of Education broad authority over student loans. Biden has already exercised that power. Debt cancellation advocates argue. by temporarily halting student loan payments during the coronavirus pandemic Many lawyers and legal scholars have written analyzes to support that view.
Biden said he supported the signing of a bill passed by Congress to eliminate $10,000 in student debt, but he had made significant reservations about the administration’s actions on debt cancellation. He also stated that he thought $50,000 was generous. And it will primarily benefit those with expensive private college degrees.
The Federal Reserve estimates that in the third quarter of 2020, Americans owe more than $1.7 trillion in student loans. Studies show that black students are more likely to take on student debt and struggle disproportionately to pay it back. The highest default rate is among students attending for-profit institutions.
“This is something the president can do,” Warren said during a Washington Post event earlier this month. “Leader Schumer and I are working hard to get it done.”