On August 6, Friday, the administration of US President Joe Biden announced a final extension of a Covid-19 relief pause on federal student loan repayments, interest and collections until January 31 of next year. The pause was initially due to expire on September 30.
The extension comes when the Delta variant of the virus continues to spread across the United States.
A White House statement said that the Department of Education “believes this additional time and a definitive end date will allow borrowers to plan for the resumption of payments and reduce the risk of delinquency and defaults after restart.”
The statement said that the department would start to notify borrowers about the final extension in the days to come and “release resources and information about how to plan for payment restart as the end of the pause approaches.”
“It is the department’s priority to support students and borrowers during this transition and ensure they have the resources they need to access affordable, high-quality higher education,” the statement quoted Education Secretary Miguel Cardona as saying.
Joe Biden, in a separate statement, said that the extension of the pause is needed because the “road will still be long” for several borrowers.
Although Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and two fellow Democratic lawmakers welcomed the step, they claimed that the measure failed to go far enough.
“Our broken student loan system continues to exacerbate racial wealth gaps and hold back our entire economy,” he said in a statement with Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Ayanna Pressley. “We continue to call on the administration to use its existing executive authority to cancel $50,000 of student debt (per borrower).”
After the Chinese, Indians are the second-largest community of international students in the United States. While the Chinese make up 35 per cent of all international students in the US, Indians account for 18 per cent.
There was a four per cent drop in the total number of Indian students enrolled in the US in 2019-2020, at 13,511, the annual Open Doors Report on International Student Exchange had revealed. During that period, as many as 1,93,124 students attended colleges and universities in the US from India.
Among the universities most preferred by Indians in the US are Carnegie Mellon University, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of San Diego, University of Toronto and more.
Meanwhile, several US-bound students are stuck in India as the flights have been recently cancelled or rescheduled. Though Indian students who have a valid visa can fly to the US and join their universities in August, the cancellation or rescheduling of flights has put many into obscurity.