DENVER – U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet is pressing President Joe Biden to extend the moratorium on federal student loan payments through the end of the year as other Democrats do the same.
The Democratic senior senator from Colorado plans to send a letter Thursday to Biden calling for the extension of the moratorium on loan payments, interest accrual and collections.
Biden extended the current pause through April, but repayments are currently slated to start again on May 1.
Bennet said in his letter another extension would give people with outstanding student loan balances more time to prepare for repayments after the recession amid inflation and other increasing costs of living.
He added that it would give the Biden administration more time to work with lawmakers to nail down the reasons why there are more than $1.6 trillion in outstanding student loan debt involving around 43 million people.
Bennet said in his letter to Biden that around 773,000 Coloradans owe approximately $28.5 billion worth of student loan debt.
“An increasing number of borrowers are struggling with high student loan debt instead of buying a home, having children, and starting businesses,” Bennet wrote to Biden. “The Administration should use this opportunity to help borrowers ease back into repayment and work with Congress to make systematic changes in the way college students pay for postsecondary education.”
Bennet said that the administration and Congress also needs to reduce the increasing cost of post-secondary education and gave him recommendations on other things that could help.
“This could include permanently making most federal student loans interest-free. It could also include making incentives to save for postsecondary education universally available and more flexible, and considering federal seed money or a match for low-incomes students so they can build accounts that pay college costs, instead of relying heavily on student loans,” Bennet wrote. “We should also explore increasing incentives to employer to help pay tuition for workers. Finally, we should continue to work together to increase the maximum Pell Grant award.”
After the 2020 election, Biden, then president-elect, proposed canceling at least $10,000 in student debt per borrower.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has called for Biden to cancel student loan debt.
On Monday, Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., was one of 40 Democrats who signed on to a similar letter to Biden to extend the moratorium “at least through the end of the year.”