On his first day in office, President Joe Biden issued 17 executive orders, presidential memoranda, and agency directives. One of those directives instructs the U.S. Department of Education to extend the existing payment suspension and interest waiver for most federal student loans through at least September 30, 2021.
In response, the Education Department announced that it would continue the pause on federal student loan payments and collection actions at President Biden's request and keep borrowers' interest rate at 0%.
The suspension applies to Federal Direct Loans and Federal Family Education Loans (FFELs), but only FFELs that the U.S. Department of Education owns—not FFELs held by other entities. Borrowers with Perkins Loans held by entities other than the Department of Education also aren't covered.
Private student loan borrowers don't get relief either. If you have private student loans, call your lender to see if any alternatives are available to help you out during the coronavirus crisis. Some states have reached agreements with servicers to help borrowers who don't have federal student loans.
Collection actions, wage garnishments, and Treasury offsets for defaulted federal student loans are also paused through September 30, 2021.
During the suspension, the nonpayments will most likely still count as qualifying payments for student loan forgiveness programs, including Public Service Loan Forgiveness. They'll also probably count toward the number of payments required under an income-driven repayment plan and the nine months needed for loan rehabilitation. While the Department of Education hasn't issued guidance yet addressing these topics, the Trump administration provided these benefits during previous student loan payment suspensions. Biden's suspension probably will include them too.
To learn more about handling your federal student loans during the COVID-19 pandemic, see How to Manage Your Federal Student Loans During the Coronavirus Outbreak.
Effective date: January 20, 2021