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Courtney Statement on Biden Administration’s Move to Extend COVID-19 Student Loan Relief to Previously Excluded Borrowers

March 30, 2021
Press Release

NORWICH, CT—Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), a senior Member of the House Education and Labor Committee, issued the following statement today after the Biden Administration and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona extended COVID-19 student loan relief to more than 1 million borrowers who had previously been left out of the government’s freeze on loan payments and interest over the past year. Secretary Cardona and the Education Department announced that they would pause collection for all borrowers who have defaulted on student loans that are guaranteed by the federal government but held by a private entity, including commercially held FFEL student loans. The Department announced that it would provide retroactive relief to eligible borrowers, refund seized tax returns and wages, and refund accrued interest dating back to March 13, 2020.

Today’s move by the Biden Administration and Secretary Cardona to extend student loan relief to borrowers left out in 2020 achieves some of the goals of legislation introduced by Rep. Courtney on January 21st this year. Courtney’s COVID-19 Student Loan Relief Extension Act (H.R. 394) sought to extend the COVID-19 student loan forbearance relief that was set to expire on January 31st, and to expand coverage to all FFEL and Perkins student loan borrowers who were excluded from support by the previous administration, providing them with retroactive relief. Today’s action takes an important step towards those aims, providing retroactive relief to borrowers who are most financially vulnerable.

“President Biden and Secretary Cardona have taken a weight off the backs of over a million student loan borrowers today, making sure they get the same relief as so many others right now when people need it most,” said Rep. Courtney. “President Biden didn’t waste any time when he came into office—he acted swiftly to extend the pause on student loan payments and interest, and today’s move will help free up finances for even more hard-working people and families. We sought to accomplish this same goal back in January when I introduced the COVID-19 Student Loan Relief Extension Act.

Student borrowers with FFEL loans have contacted my office repeatedly over the past year asking why they cannot benefit from the payment pause and 0% interest accrual. These borrowers tend to have older loans with high interest rates, and it’s unfair that they have been left out. I look forward to continuing to work with Secretary Cardona and the Biden Administration to make sure all borrowers with federal student loans are entitled to this financial relief."