Foxx, Burr Demand Answers on ED’s Repayment Plan
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 28, 2021
Today, Republican Leader of the House Education and Labor Committee Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Republican Leader of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) sent a third letter to Department of Education Secretary Cardona requesting an update on the Department’s plan to transition student loan borrowers from the repayment freeze in effect during the COVID-19 pandemic into active repayment status.
In the letter, the Members write: “On June 2, 2021, we wrote you inquiring about the Department’s plan for returning federal student loan borrowers into repayment status. Without receiving a response to that letter, nor to the follow up letter we sent on July 29, 2021, you announced a 'final extension of the pause on student loan repayment, interest, and collections' which is set to expire on January 31, 2022. Unfortunately, the questions in those previous letters remain unanswered.”
The Members continue: “The lack of clarity and guidance about the process surrounding returning borrowers to repayment is as troubling as the process is uncertain. We remain deeply concerned about the ability of the Department to ensure a smooth transition to repayment in four months. If this transition is going to be successful, it is critical the Department immediately begins to work collaboratively with its partners and Congress. There has been ample time to plan.”
Background: The student loan payment moratorium was first implemented by President Trump in March 2020 and has since been extended through executive and congressional authority. In total, the moratorium will cost taxpayers nearly $100 billion when it expires at the end of September. The return to repayment is further complicated by the fact two servicers will not extend their servicing contract with the Department. While 45 million borrowers will begin making payments again in four months, the Department has provided little guidance as to how they and stakeholders will undergo this operation. Republican Leaders Foxx and Burr first inquired about the return to repayment in June but have yet to receive a response to that letter, as well as their follow up letter sent in July.
To read the full letter to Secretary Cardona, click here.