Loan payment

Student loan payment break backed by voters, poll finds

Topline

About half of U.S. voters want President Joe Biden to extend his pause on federal student loan repayments — and far more support him than oppose — according to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll, because the administration Biden has signaled that she may push back the May 1 moratorium end date even further.

Highlights

The poll found that 50% supported the date for resuming payments would be pushed back, with 27% supporting it strongly and 23% supporting it somewhat.

Only 33% oppose extending the moratorium, while 17% are unsure.

Democrats were most in favor of the extension – with 67% supporting and 19% opposing – compared to 47% supporting independents (32% opposed) and 35% supporting Republicans (49% opposed).

An extension would also be widely popular with younger voters: 56% of voters aged 18-34 support extending the break (19% against) and 58% of those aged 35-44 support it (29% against).

Voters aged 45 to 64 are slightly less supportive (49% in favor and 37% opposed), while those aged 65 and over are evenly split, with 44% approving and opposing extending the moratorium.

The poll was conducted March 11-14 among 2,205 US voters.

To monitor

If the break will be extended. The moratorium is due to end on May 1, but the Department of Education has sent an email to federal loan officers instructing them not to notify borrowers that the pause is expiring, Politico first reported, noting that the he Biden administration was considering an extension. White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain also said on Pod Save America in early March that Biden will “look at what we should do about [whether to cancel any] student debt before the expiration of the break, otherwise it will extend the break. The Department of Education has yet to confirm an extended pause, but a spokesperson told NPR that the Biden administration is “committed to providing meaningful relief” and that the agency will “continue to communicate directly with borrowers… [with] clear and timely updates.

Large number

41 million. That’s the number of Americans who are covered by the student loan repayment moratorium and will have to start making payments again when it resumes, according to the US Department of Education.

Key Context

The student loan repayment moratorium has been in place since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 and was first imposed by Congress, but is now being extended by a series of executive orders. Biden recently extended the late-December hiatus to the current May 1 end date. Opponents of extending the freeze have cited falling jobless numbers and the financial cost of maintaining the pause, and an American-led coalition of groups for tax reform told Biden in a recent letter that the moratorium is “fundamentally unfair” to those who do not. t have loans or “who have proactively repaid their debt”. Student debt has become a major political issue as loan repayments continue to cripple the finances of millions of Americans, and Biden faces growth pressure from the left not only to extend the moratorium, but also to entirely cancel at least part of the federal student debt of the United States. The president promised on the campaign trail to waive $10,000 in student debt per borrower, but has yet to do so, and Klain has not committed to the president taking action in his Pod Save America appearance.

Further reading

Extending student loan payment moratorium would be popular with voters (morning consultation)

Will Biden suspend or cancel your student loans again? Here’s what we know. (Forbes)

Why Your Student Loan Payments May Be Delayed (Further) (NPR)

Biden officials signal they may extend student loan payment freeze (Politico)