Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on possible extension of student loan pause: ‘Borrowers will know straight away and soon’

As the latest pause on federal student loan payments is ready to expire this month, the country’s top education official suggested a possible extension was still under consideration.

“Although I don’t have an announcement here today, I will tell you that we are having daily conversations with the White House and borrowers will hear directly from us soon when a decision is made,” the secretary said Tuesday. American for Education, Miguel Cardona. “CBS Mornings.”

Federal student loan payments have been suspended for approximately 40 million Americans since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Interest has been set at zero during this time.

The latest break, announced by President Biden in April, is expected to end August 31. But just days away from that deadline, it’s still unclear whether payments and interest will actually resume in September. Biden has also come under pressure from activists and progressive Democrats to cancel some or all of the student debt.

Cardona wouldn’t elaborate on his talks with the White House, but he said the Biden administration is focused on students and continues to work to fix what he called a “broken system.”

“The president has been very clear about making sure we lead with students first, and we’re proud of the $28 billion in loan forgiveness so far and the policies we’ve changed to fix a broken system,” says Cardone. “We recognize that the Americans are waiting and we will communicate with them as soon as possible.”

The $28 billion of targeted loan forgiveness includes about $8 billion for borrowers who were defrauded by schools.

During Tuesday’s interview, Cardona also touched on the country’s growing teacher shortage – nearly three-quarters of schools nationwide did not have enough applicants to fill their open teaching positions, a survey found. of July carried out by the EdWeek research center. Cardona urged states and local leaders to find ways to improve working conditions and offer financial incentives to try to lure teachers into the classroom.

“Working conditions are important, as are competitive wages,” Cardona said. “It’s sad. We have teachers with master’s degrees who have to drive Uber on weekends to make ends meet. This is unacceptable in the United States.”

Low pay, burnout, and poor working conditions that include large class sizes are among the most common challenges in teacher recruitment and retention in the United States As states and school districts scramble to find educators, some are finding other ways to attract candidates.

In Florida, where about 8,000 teaching positions remain open, Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill allowing military veterans to teach without a college degree. The Dallas, Texas School District is offering up to $3,500 to recruit and retain educators.

Cardona noted that the country teacher shortage has been a problem for years.

“It was true before the pandemic, but it’s worse now,” he said, as he called on state and local leaders to use the funds of the US rescue plana pandemic relief package signed by President Biden last year that includes billions of dollars in aid to state and local governments.

“We are on the brink of a crisis, and if we don’t take this seriously, and if it wasn’t a warning that we need to elevate the profession and pay them competitive wages, especially when the labor market is what it is, then we’re missing an opportunity here,” Cardona said.

Comments are closed.