Education Secretary Miguel Cardona confirmed this week that the Department of Education is preparing to restart student loan payments later this year.
“The emergency period is over, and we’re preparing our borrowers to restart,” Cardona said at a Senate Appropriations hearing on Thursday, as the national COVID-19 public health emergency was set to expire at midnight.
Cardona reiterated that the Biden administration plans to restart student loan payments no later than 60 days after June 30, despite some speculation that the pause would be extended for a 10th time.
The timing hinges on the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, which could provide borrowers with up to $20,000 in debt relief.
“We are committed to making sure that once a decision is made that we’re going to resume payments 60 days after,” he said. “But no later than June 30, we’re going to begin that process.”
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases challenging President Biden’s debt forgiveness plan in February and can release their decision on any Monday through the end of June.
“We’re confident, senator, that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of the targeted debt relief, providing relief for millions of borrowers,” Cardona told Sen. Shelley Capito (R-W.V.) at Thursday’s hearing.
He also emphasized that after the three-year pause, the Department of Education recognizes that borrowers “need a long on-ramp” to resuming payments.
“We do plan on making sure it’s a smooth reentry to repayment,” Cardona said.
While Cardona expressed confidence in the administration’s debt relief plan, Biden previously seemed wary that the conservative majority Supreme Court would rule in their favor.
“I’m confident we’re on the right side of the law. I’m not confident about the outcome of the decision yet,” the president said the day after oral arguments.