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Biden extends federal student loan repayment pause until May 1

The Biden administration is officially extending a pause on federal student loan repayment until May 2022.

The White House announced Wednesday the student loan repayment pause, which was set to end on Feb. 1, will be extended to May 1. President Biden previously extended the pause, which began under former President Donald Trump at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, through September 2021, then again through January 2022. 

Biden said the pause on repayment of federal loans has given millions of Americans "badly-needed breathing room" during the pandemic. He's extending it, he added, because borrowers who are "still coping with the impacts of the pandemic" need "some more time before resuming payments." 

The decision comes after Politico reported the Education Department was considering extending the pause amid a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant, though the report noted officials for months had "publicly insisted that student loan payments would begin on Feb. 1." Biden was facing pressure from Democrats to extend the deadline, with Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) arguing that not continuing the pause "makes no sense" and is "awful on the substance and awful politics." 

Biden on Wednesday encouraged student borrowers to "take full advantage of the Department of Education's resources to help you prepare for payments to resume" in May.