Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to be Secretary of Education, testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Work and Pensions in the office building of the Dirksen Senate on Capitol Hill on January 17, 2017, in Washington DC

An Iowa state professor said the Biden administration will need to act quickly or students will bear the brunt of student debt during the pandemic.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has decided to extend the suspension of federal student loan payments until January. According to Department of Education, DeVos said the extension is necessary because the pandemic has made the financial situation of many students miserable.

“The coronavirus pandemic has presented challenges for many students and borrowers, and this temporary break in payments will help those who have been affected,” DeVos said. “The overtime also allows Congress to do its job and determine what action it deems necessary and appropriate. Congress, not the executive branch, is in charge of student loan policy.”

In addition, DeVos reduced interest rates to 0% on federal student loans, which has been in place since March.

While many student loans are now getting extra help as they compete with the pandemic, some loans do not qualify for DeVos relief.

According to Forbes, Federal Family Education Loans (FFELs), Perkins loans, and other private student loans are not eligible for relief. These loans represent $ 300 billion in outstanding student loans.

Many economists argue that canceling higher education debt is an ineffective way to help struggling Americans facing foreclosure, evictions and hunger.

With the additional relief and the coming into office of a new Democratic administration in January, there has been a push to cancel student loans. Unfortunately, with a major shift in Congress, the student loan landscape is likely to remain unchanged.

Mack Shelley, professor and chair of the political science department, explained what to expect during a Biden administration.

“Unless the Biden administration can act quickly, it seems likely that students will be faced with bills in February in the absence of an executive order to the contrary,” Shelley said. “Hopefully a short-term, multi-party legislative solution can come up, but at this point it seems there is little benefit to either of the major parties in a major compromise. “

Peter Orazem, an economics professor at the university, also echoed Shelley’s post and provided an overview of what to expect once the loan payments are due.

“I don’t think you can change your expectations of what’s going to happen under a different administration based on [DeVos’ extension,]Orazem said. “I think it’s more likely that under the Democratic administration there could be action on the loan cancellation than there would be under a Trump administration, but I don’t think that indicates what whether in terms of what will happen in the future. “

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